Trans Mountain pipeline info session attracts job seekers

By Doug Collins / Vanessa Ybarra
February 24, 2017 - 6:09am Updated: February 24, 2017 - 4:36pm

KAMLOOPS — A Kinder Morgan information session attracted dozens of people Thursday evening, many looking at the possibility of job opportunities.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project was approved by the federal government late last year, and now  Kinder Morgan staff are touring Alberta and B.C communities who will be impacted by the project.

In just over six months, the Trans Mountain pipeline project breaks ground in Kamloops.

"The majority of inquiries tonight has been jobs, procurement i.e services, and where the route is," said Kinder Morgan Spokesperson Lizette Parson Bell.

A number of roundtable discussions, as well information booths ranging from groundwater protection, employee housing opportunities and more were set up at the conference to give residents the chance to speak one-on-one with Kinder Morgan staff.

"It gives people the opportunity to come in and learn more about the project," said Parsons Bell. "The project's now improved but we he haven't held an open house since the projects been improved so we wanted to be able to come out and explain to people where we are, that we're real and there's going to shovels in the ground."

The first six months of the project set to begin in December will focus on tree clearing and drilling under the Thompson River near the airport.

Construction of the twinned pipeline that will follow most of the current pipeline route except for a diversion from Westyde through the Lac du Bois Grasslands will then begin. 

The company says the project will generate around 700 jobs, making it no surprise a large portion of the night's attendees were job seekers and contractors.

"I'm just coming to see what the information here and meet people," said local Kamloops contractor Koyne Watson.

"We're very committed to maximizing local, regional, and aboriginal opportunities both on the employment and procurement side," said Greg Toth, Senior Director of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. "At peak man power it's basically going to be between 600 and 700 people."

Other attendees at the conference included Kamloops companies like horizon north who provide camps and catering for workforce projects in the area, to concerned homeowners such as Bob McConnell.

"The pipeline goes through our area of black pines," said McConnell. "It goes past our water system three or four times and I'm concerned about that, it's our drinking water. I"m hoping this all works out and they don't hit any lines."

Kinder Morgan says it's lingering fears like Bobs they hope to calm one conversation at a time, with a similar information session planned in May. 

"We just want to be able to provide people with the information so that they're prepared," said Parsons Bell.

Popular section of the Rivers Trail closed due to sewer work