Landowner group looking for strength in numbers

A group of landowners that could be affected by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline met recently.

A group of potentially affected or impacted landowners by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline met in Fort St. James recently and decided to formalize.

The group will be collectively working to negotiate with Enbridge in regards to impacts on their property related to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. The pipeline, which is currently under review, would pass just south of the community of Fort St. James, one of only three communities which the pipeline encounters in B.C. along its route from the Alberta tar sands to Kitimat.

The pipeline would also come close to the communities of Burns Lake and Kitimat, so these will be the areas where private landowners are potentially impacted.

There are significant implications for landowners, as there is a right of way in place around a pipeline once it is in place which can impact landowners abilities to move heavy equipment across their property, subdivide, build new structures or dig wells or other below-ground work.

There are also huge implications for after the pipeline is no longer in use, and uncertainty as to whether the pipeline company would be responsible to pay for its removal or not.

The group, which is hoping to use the name the B.C. Northern Gateway Landowners Association (BCNGLA), will be joining the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Association (CAEPLA), a larger Canadian group which has extensive experience with these issues across the country.

The local group will also be registering as intervenors in what are being referred to as the Abandonment Cost Hearings to determine liability for abandoned pipelines.

These hearings could have huge implications for landowners down the line, as they could essentially transfer liability related to the unused pipeline to the landowner once the company is done with it.

The BCNGLA’s mission statement upon their inception is: “To act in the interest of affected and impacted landowners within the B.C. corridor of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.”

The group is hoping to extend an offer to Burns Lake landowners and Kitimat landowners to join the group to gain more strength in numbers for negotiations and to keep landowners who may be affected or impacted as informed as possible. Landowners interested in more information can contact the group at: 250-996-0194 or bcngla@gmail.com.