Toronto

Mississauga residents fight to have pipeline valve removed from entrance to neighbourhood

A group of Mississauga residents is lobbying all levels of government to have what is called a valve compound removed from the entrance to its neighbourhood because it believes the structure is unsightly and unsafe.

Residents say Above Ground Valve Compound, as it is known, is unsightly and unsafe

Donald Stewart, president of the Gordon Woods Homeowners' Association, says: 'It's a health and safety issue because jet fuel is going through this pipeline. And jet fuel, as you know, is a dangerous liquid. From a health and safety point of view, it's a big issue for the residents.' (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

A group of Mississauga residents is lobbying all levels of government to have a pipeline valve compound removed from the entrance to its neighbourhood because it believes the structure is unsightly and unsafe.

Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. recently finished building what is known as an Above Ground Valve Compound at the northeast corner of the intersection of Premium Way and Dickson Road.

The Gordon Woods Homeowners' Association, whose 350 members work to preserve the character of their neighbourhood, has sent a letter to Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan asking him to review approval by the Canada Energy Regulator that allowed the company to build the valve compound at its current location.

The association has also appealed to the Ontario transportation ministry and Mississauga city council because it wants the valve compound moved. If the pipeline cannot be moved, the association would like it to be buried.

Association President Donald Stewart said on Sunday that the valve compound is located at the entrance to Dickson Park, a grouping of about 77 homes, that is part of the larger Gordon Woods neighbourhood. The area is the loading and off-loading site of school buses and is near a Roman Catholic cemetery, he said. The intersection itself is very busy, he said.

"It's a health and safety issue because jet fuel is going through this pipeline. And jet fuel, as you know, is a dangerous liquid. From a health and safety point of view, it's a big issue for the residents," Stewart said.

Stewart said residents did not receive enough notice about its construction and the whole community is opposed to the valve compound. Residents said it should be located in an industrial area. Stewart called it a "monstrosity."

Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. says the valve is to protect the Credit River by ensuring, in the unlikely event of an emergency, the flow of 'product' to the section of the pipeline that crosses beneath the river can be stopped. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

Molly Verrier, a local resident, said she is concerned about safety, the process involved and the neighbourhood itself. 

"We're concerned about this happening here in this location without due notification. That's just not on. That's not part of the process and we don't like it," Verrier said.

"It's a disruption to the neighbourhood, it shouldn't have happened this way and so we're not satisfied."

Verrier said residents hope that the structure will be moved. "We want to see it appropriately placed," she said. "My sense is that safety comes first. This is not what you place in this kind of environment."

According to the company, the valve itself is to protect the Credit River by ensuring, in the unlikely event of an emergency, the flow of "product" to the section of the pipeline that crosses beneath the Credit River can be stopped.

In August, Mississauga council passed a motion that supported the selling of additional land to the Trans-Northern Pipeline Inc., if land is available, to find another location for this valve compound. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, for her part, said the city lacks the jurisdiction or authority to relocate the valve compound.

"I understand the frustration of local residents. The pipe valve that was put in is unsightly and in a location that does not make sense to me," Crombie said in a statement to CBC Toronto on Sunday.

Crombie noted that Mississauga council decided at its Dec. 9 meeting to ask the Ontario transportation ministry, Trans-Northern Pipeline Inc. and the Canada Energy Regulator to investigate concerns raised by residents and find a solution that is acceptable to them.

The motion also calls on Mississauga's six MPPs and Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney to carry out what is called a Peer Review of the site of the valve compound to resolve those concerns.

In August, council passed a motion that supported the selling of additional land to the company, if land is available, to find another location for the valve compound.

The pipeline valve compound is located at the intersection of Premium Way and Dickson Road. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

Lisa Dornan, spokesperson for Trans-Northern Pipeline Inc., said in a statement on Sunday that the company is aware of the concerns of residents.

"Trans-Northern no longer builds valve compounds below ground; this practice is consistent with industry best-practice as well as our commitment to safety of the community, of our employees, and of the environment," she said in the statement.

"Trans-Northern will not compromise the enhanced safety the above-ground compound provides for our employees, who must access the valve on a regular basis to ensure the valve is able to perform its function as a safety measure for the public and the environment in the unlikely event of a pipeline emergency," she added.

Company says it could enhance fencing

"We have offered on several occasions to work with area residents to enhance the fencing and create a neighbourhood feature in the area. We reiterated this offer to staff at the City of Mississauga as recently as this week. Unfortunately, to date, residents have indicated they do not wish to take part in such a discussion. We encourage them to reconsider and remain open to working with them."

Dornan said the company acquired the land from the city of Mississauga last year after it had to relocate a portion of its pipeline and its east Credit River valve due to the province's QEW-Credit River improvement project.

It said it assessed various sites and chose the current one because it was only one that did not interfere with future plans for infrastructure such as hydro lines.

She added that the company ensured it met every requirement to obtain approval from the Canada Energy Regulator and all permits and approvals from the city.

MPP Rudy Cuzzetto, who represents Mississauga-Lakeshore, said the pipeline valve is in federal jurisdiction. He said he has asked the city to move Dickson Road, either to the right or the left of the valve, to make the area safer, but he has not yet heard back.

With files from Lauren Pelley, Ieva Lucs

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