Construction on the Trans Mountain Pipeline is expected to restart within the month, but it’s uncertain when shovels will actually hit the dirt in Abbotsford and the rest of the Fraser Valley. Nevertheless, the city and golfers at Ledgeview seem to have mended fences since the two sides found themselves at odds when pipeline construction was brought to a halt last summer.
Last week Trans Mountain, now a Crown corporation after its purchase by the federal government, issued notice that it was calling contractors back into the field. Construction is expected to restart in Alberta near Edmonton, and in Burnaby, where work has previously been met with protests.
But Abbotsford is apparently further down Trans Mountain’s to-do list.
In an email, a Trans Mountain spokesperson wrote that the company doesn’t have a start date yet for construction in Abbotsford, “as there are requirements we still need to meet before we can get shovels in the ground in this area.”
But Trans Mountain expects to clear other regulatory approvals and receive other necessary permits “in the coming months,” the email said.
Construction on the pipeline won’t just affect the hundreds of Abbotsford residents who own property along its route. Local golfers will be watching and waiting, as the pause in construction last year that was prompted by opposition in B.C. and a subsequent court ruling also led the city to stop plans to build a new $5.6 million clubhouse at Ledgeview Golf Course.
The pipeline runs beneath the city-owned golf course, and the city expected to receive about $2.8 million from Trans Mountain if the pipeline gets built. (Of that, $1.5 million would be compensation for use of the right-of-way through the property, and the remainder would come from a community benefits agreement signed with the company.)
All the money was slated to go toward the new clubhouse, and with the future of the pipeline twinning project uncertain last summer, council decided to pause the project. The decision, which came just a couple months before voters headed to the polls in last fall’s municipal eleciton, was blasted by the society that operates the golf course, with its president saying in a press release: “We can no longer support Mayor Braun’s leadership on this issue.”
The relationship appears to have mended somewhat since then, though.
In response to questions about the future of the clubhouse, a city spokesperson wrote in an email: “The rebuilding of the Ledgeview Clubhouse continues to be an important City initiative. The City has been in discussions with the key partners over the summer to move this project along.”
And Ledgeview Golf and Country Club Chris Gaudet confirmed the discussions had been cordial.
“We have been working intimately, and in a positive way, with the City on the clubhouse reconstruction project over the summer,” Gaudet wrote in an email. “We are grateful to Abbotsford residents for supporting a fantastic summer at Ledgeview. I’m proud to report that the course is in the best condition it has ever been!