TransCanada holds oil pipeline info session in Stittsville

Dozens of people showed up to a TransCanada public consultation on its pipeline proposal in Stittsville on Thursday evening including some who were upset.

1 person asked to leave by security personnel, police

The first of 65 TransCanada public meetings on east-west pipeline took place in Ottawa. 2:31

Dozens of people showed up to a TransCanada public consultation on its pipeline proposal in Stittsville on Thursday evening.

The consultation was the first in the City of Ottawa, one of 65 held across the country.

Protesters gathered outside of a TransCanada public information session about its oil pipeline proposal in Stittsville on Thursday. (October 10, 2013) (Ryan Gibson/CBC)

The pipeline proposal, which still needs regulatory approval, would send 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to refineries and export terminals in Eastern Canada.

TransCanada is proposing to convert roughly 3,000 kilometres of natural gas pipeline on its existing Canadian Mainline route so it can carry crude oil.

The company has a natural gas compressor station on the outskirts of Stittsville and its pipes are part of a long gas pipeline running beneath the community.

The pipeline would pass through the western part of Ottawa and also run beneath the bed of the Rideau River.

The company said it can convert the existing natural gas pipes to carry the oil.

It would also construct 1,400 km of new pipeline to carry crude oil into Saint John, N.B., where it will end at the Canaport LNG terminal.

1 protester asked to leave

In Stittsville Thursday, one person was asked to leave for unfurling a banner inside that read, "TransCanada lies," as well as for taking photos.

Some people put up signs and protested outside the building while the information session was happening. Others went inside to learn more about the proposal.

Richmond resident Amber McCoy said she's concerned about what would happen to the village's shallow aquifer in the event of a leak. (CBC)

Amber McCoy lives in Richmond and said the pipeline would run within a kilometre of her home.

"My biggest concerns are with the switch-over, the potential for leaks into our aquifer," McCoy said. "The village of Richmond sits on a very shallow aquifer and it's very vulnerable, and if there was a leak my biggest concern is that we would lose our wells and we would have to drill new wells."

TransCanada concedes it can't guarantee there won't be a leak, but claims it's using state of the art technology to detect weak pipes before they burst. Control room staff can also turn off valves to minimize spills.

The company said it would start seeking regulatory approvals on the pipeline in 2014 and the oil could start flowing to Eastern Canada by late 2017.

It's expected to cost $12 billion, excluding the transfer value of Canadian Mainline natural gas assets, according to the company.

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