Jeff NAGEL and Alex BUTLER
As Kinder Morgan approaches universities along its proposed pipeline expansion route with lucrative partnerships, the University of the Fraser Valley is not moving forward with any deal at this time.
Dave Pinton, director of communication at UFV, said like many organizations on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion route, UFV was approached by Kinder Morgan for discussions.
“However, at this time we are not pursuing a partnership or agreement,” he said in an email.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) announced in June that it would sign a benefits agreement with Kinder Morgan that will bring $300,000 to the institution over 20 years if the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is approved.
The expansion would see a second Kinder Morgan oil pipeline built adjacent to the existing one in order to increase carrying capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000.
Academic vice-president Salvador Ferreras of KPU said he had no ethical qualms the signing.
“We as a university do not have a position on the Trans Mountain pipeline at all,” he said.
However, student leaders quickly condemned the decision, with Kwantlen Student Association vice-president Alex McGowan saying KPU’s acceptance amounted to “tacit endorsement” of the pipeline project.
The $300,000 earmarked for Kwantlen consists mainly of scholarships and bursaries for KPU trades and technology students, and to help fund KPU’s Environmental Protection Technology lab, for which the company may gain naming rights.
Cities have also been approached with potential benefit agreements.
Last month, Chilliwack city council voted to defer signing off on a deal that would have seen Trans Mountain contribute $800,000 for a pedestrian walkway. Council there now intends to wait for a final recommendation on the pipeline twinning from the National Energy Board (NEB).
The City of Abbotsford has intervenor status, which allows the city to participate in the hearings.
City manager George Murray said the city has a list of concerns about the project, not all of which have been addressed by Kinder Morgan at this time. The city has been in discussions with Kinder Morgan on a number of issues and has been approached about the benefit agreements. Once they have finalized other discussions on these concerns, “we may be open to having discussions about community benefits.”
Kinder Morgan has benefit deals worth $5 million with 18 other municipalities along the pipeline route from Hope to northern Alberta. Money promised would go to various local improvements, such as parks, trails and water system upgrades.
The agreements are all contingent on the project getting NEB approval.