Construction on a planned new clubhouse for the Ledgeview Golf Course has been delayed due to uncertainty regarding the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the City of Abbotsford announced this afternoon following a closed-door council meeting
The city had originally hoped to start work on a $5.6 million clubhouse and banquet hall at the city-owned course in March, but the project has been delayed because pipeline company Kinder Morgan has yet to release more than $1 million needed to help pay for the new building.
The city had signed a $1.3 million community benefits agreement with the company in 2016 to replace the existing clubhouse. Just months later, that building burned to the ground. The city would also receive nearly $1.5 million for use of right-of-ways through Ledgeview – which is bisected by the pipeline – and other city property.
The funds from community benefits agreement were contingent on the company decided that it was able to receive approval to twin the pipeline.
“Last week’s Federal Court ruling related to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) has meant that there will be delays with the start of that project’s construction, and subsequently, the release of Abbotsford’s TMEP community benefits funding,” Mayor Henry Braun said in a press release issued Friday. “With this new uncertainty around the timing of the release of the community benefits funds, City Council has decided to delay the start of the Ledgeview Golf Course clubhouse replacement project until more information is available.”
The council vote was made during a council meeting held Friday that was closed to the public. Council invoked two sections of the community charter that allows it to hold meetings in private if they are to receive advice from a lawyer or discuss land matters that, if disclosed, could “harm the interests of the municipality.”
It’s unclear if the motion to delay the project was unanimous, as only the decision reached by council, not the votes cast were made public. Only Coun. Patricia Ross had voted against the original agreement with Kinder Morgan.
Braun said staff has been asked to update council in the coming months, or when new developments occur.
“Council believes this is the best approach given the Federal Government’s indication that they will be evaluating the implications of the Court’s ruling over the next several weeks and may as part of that process, be able to provide an updated project timeline,” Braun said.
In an email to The News, a Kinder Morgan representative wrote: “Trans Mountain will continue to deliver on our commitments, including Community Benefit Agreements. Since CBAs are an investment to offset impacts due to construction along the pipeline corridor, funds will be disbursed when triggered by the start of construction in each community.”
On top of $2.78 million from Kinder Morgan, the city was to pay $950,000 towards the project, the Ledgeview Golf and Country Club Society was to raise $270,000 and another $175,000 was to come from the sale of another city-owned property. A final $1.5 million was to come from insurance that covered the burned-down building.
More to come