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Landowner counters critics of proposed work camp

Detractors of Lake Tchesinkut site misguided, says Terry Roe
Location of the proposed work camp at Tchesinkut Lake. (RDBN image)

The owner of a parcel of land where TransCanada wants to build a camp for hundreds of pipeline workers has said that concerns about pollution, traffic and security at the work camp are overblown.

New Hazelton resident Terry Lawrence Roe spoke to the Lakes District News about plans for the Tchesinkut Lake property following an open house organized by TransCanada and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako.

Many local residents at the open house expressed concern about potential impacts on the watershed, but Roe said a drainage field or lagoon at the back of the property would prevent waste from entering the lake. “There will be no wastewater going anywhere close to Tchesinkut Lake,” he said.

He suggested that many of the project’s detractors likely dump their sewage into the lake. “They should look at their own sewer systems,” said Roe.

TransCanada “very fussy”

A creek running through the property would be separated from the drainage by a rise in the land, according to Roe. “It’s not good water anyway,” he said.

Asked about concerns that cars in the proposed work camp’s parking lot would leak oil or other pollutants that would enter the watershed, Roe said that TransCanada is known to be “very fussy” about spills.

“If there was a bit of a spill somewhere, it would be cleaned up one hundred percent properly,” said Roe.

And although a TransCanada official said at the open house on May 1 that hauling water to the site was the company’s preferred option, Roe insisted the company plans to drill for water.

“I told them that I would prefer that they build a well,” he said, adding that hauling water was put forward as an option three or four years ago — but was ruled out.

He also said he doesn’t expect the company to tap Tchesinkut Lake for its water supply

Company optioned property

Although he wouldn’t disclose the amount of money at stake, Roe said the company had paid him for optioning the lease.

He described the site as “perfect,” saying the only resident within close proximity to the proposed camp would be a cousin of Roe’s.

He also objected to claims that traffic would reach unacceptably high levels around the work camp, saying that he’d seen estimates about the number of vehicles coming and going and that it “wasn’t astronomical,” though it amounted to more than 100 vehicles daily.

Roe also dismissed fears that the influx of hundreds of workers would pose a safety risk to residents, saying the company plans to have security on-site.

Landowner lived at Tchesinkut

Roe himself lived at Tchesinkut Lake as a young child. A retired millwright, he moved to New Hazelton in the 1970s. He said he’s got the best interests of Tchesinkut Lake at heart, adding that he still visits regularly and that several family members live on its shores.

The work camp would improve his property, he said, through the drilling of a well, the installation of power lines and the clearing of land previously logged by his grandfather. He also said that TransCanada would return the property to a pristine state.

He added said the project would also benefit the economy. “I think it’s going to be a good thing for Burns Lake,” said Roe.