The community was eager to get an update on TC Energy’s Saddle Lake Lateral Loop Cold Lake Section.
TC Energy, formally Trans Canada Pipeline, hosted an open house at the Lakeland Inn on Wednesday, Nov. 20 to provide details on the natural gas pipeline plan and answer any questions from the public.
“We wanted to engage with the community and let them know, ‘hey, there’s a project coming,’” noted Louai Hassan, project manager for the Saddle Lake Lateral Loop Cold Lake Section. “Giving them a venue and a means to ask questions is very important, and answering their questions makes people either walk away with more questions or feel better. That’s kind of what we wanted to give them an opportunity to do, because it’s not everyday you get to meet the project manager or team to talk about a project.”
Angela Cook, local realtor, attended to learn more about what the venture entails.
“Being in real estate for some of the country residential subdivisions, there are areas where they don’t have natural gas, so what do you do if you’re sitting on a multi-million dollar subdivision and you don’t have any natural gas? You have to look at the propane and other options,” Cook said. “Seeing that they’re coming in, and they’re doing something, I just want to know so my clients and developers can also know.”
Attendee John Keldie left with a better understanding of the plan as a whole.
“I asked a lot of questions, and I was provided a lot of insight, anywhere from the land and environment through to the engineering and project management.”
The upgrade will see construction of an approximately 20-inch line for 20-kilometres, which will begin at the Kent Sales Metre Station, located eight-km southwest of Cold Lake. It will tie into TC Energy’s existing natural gas system, and travel 20-km east to the Cold Lake Border Station and Cherry Grove Metre Station.
The current 10-inch line no longer meets the needs of the area when it comes to natural gas.
“It’s been in service since the 1970s,” Hassan noted. “With new contracts coming in, we just want to provide reliability for the area and customers. We thought it would be a good opportunity to replace the line and upsize.”
Addressing the inadequate supply in the area through the upgrade was a positive for Mayor Craig Copeland.
“We do have a shortage of natural gas in the region, so we’re really encouraged that here’s an increased supply of natural gas to the northeast and, hopefully, providers in northeastern Alberta are going to tap into this main service line and it will open up some development in the MD of Bonnyville,” he said.
Attendees wanted an update on TC Energy’s application with the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER), formerly the National Energy Board (NEB).
“We’re really just waiting right now to see what comes out of that, waiting on any questions to come back and I haven’t seen anything yet. Our next steps right now would be to get a prime contractor, and then shortly after that, hopefully, start construction depending on approval.”
If everything goes according to plan, TC Energy anticipates to break ground in 2020, and for the line to be operational in 2021. It’s estimated that roughly 400 people will be in the area to work on the upgrade, and they’re looking to keep the workforce as local as possible.
“It’s to help and give back to the community,” explaned Hassan. “We don’t want to bring someone in from a different city to do the jobs. If they’re here, why not?”
Fort McMurray-Cold Lake MP David Yurdiga described the project as crucial for the community.
“We’re looking at it to spark our economy. They’re not going to be running camps, and they’re going to be using our local hotels. It’s going to create economic prosperity for the term of the pipeline construction,” he continued.
Copeland added, “It’s something that we desperately need in the area, and it’s going to be a good boost to the economy.”