Peter Reus, president of the Collaborative Group of Landowners Affected by Pipelines, wants pipeline companies to pay property owners ongoing royalties, rather than lump sum payments.

Peter Reus, president of the Collaborative Group of Landowners Affected by Pipelines, wants pipeline companies to pay property owners ongoing royalties, rather than lump sum payments.

Panel suggests second-look at pipeline compensation

Local landowner group has been pushing for royalties

A report that suggests Canada dismantle the National Energy Board (NEB) also recommends reviewing how companies interact with and compensate landowners.

The report, on how to modernize the NEB, was delivered Monday by a five-member panel appointed by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr. It describes “a crisis of confidence” in the NEB by many Canadians and suggests splitting the public body into two different agencies.

The panel also touches on how landowners are compensated for those whose properties are affected by energy infrastructure. That’s likely to be of keen interest to dozens of Fraser Valley residents, including members of the Collaborative Group of Landowners Affected by Pipelines (CGLAP), a local group of landowners who have called to be paid with ongoing royalties, rather than one-time lump-sum payments.

The panel said it couldn’t judge whether “levels of compensation are adequate or not,” but said that’s not the main issue.

Instead, it said many feel limited by confidentiality clauses, while others “would prefer annual rents to lump-sum payments, but feel that such arrangements are not allowed or somehow frowned upon.”

The Kinder Morgan Pipeline runs for about 30 kilometres through Abbotsford. Spectra Energy also operates a pipeline that runs from Chilliwack through Sumas Prairie to the United States.

The panel also heard from those who said people whose land isn’t crossed by pipelines, but may still be affected, should also receive some compensation.

It said: “We feel this area should be guided by a simple principle: that all parties work toward seeking the consent of landowners to the greatest extent possible.”

The panel’s report recommended “a review of compensation practices and outcomes, resulting in a public report on the matter, so as to better understand and deal with compensation issues both large and small.”

The bulk of the attention on the report has focused on a recommendation to split the NEB and change the processes through which major energy infrastructure projects are evaluated.

Trans Mountain pipeline