KPU inks deal with pipeline firm for $300,000

Latest benefit agreement from Trans Mountain would aid Kwantlen trades students

Kwantlen Polytechnic University provost and academic vice-president Salvador Ferreras

Kwantlen Polytechnic University academic vice-president Salvador Ferreras said he had no ethical qualms about signing 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.

“None at all,” he said, adding the decision was about putting the interests of students first. “We as a university do not have a position on the Trans Mountain pipeline at all.”

The deal unveiled Tuesday at KPU’s Langley campus is the latest in Trans Mountain’s efforts to conclude benefit deals with local cities and post-secondary institutions in the name of delivering “legacies” with the project but also demonstrating local support.

Each new deal adds more local projects and funding that hinge on whether the new pipeline is ultimately approved.

RELATED:Trans Mountain says benefits offer to Chilliwack ‘not at all a bribe’

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, which the company may gain naming rights over.

“We see this as an added opportunity for those students,” Ferreras said. “Our environmental protection technology students would be working on these types of projects anyway. This is one of their career paths. We feel we should be giving the opportunity to those students who need those chances.”

He said KPU is willing to organize a formal dialogue about the issue if students or faculty are upset about the agreement.

Trans Mountain project officials said the KPU money is primarily a benefits legacy, but add it’s conceivable some students benefitting from scholarships could go through a program there in time to work on the project.

Kinder Morgan spokesperson Lizette Parsons Bell defended the KPU partnership when asked if it could be seen as co-opting the school or its students.

She noted Trans Mountain has worked with UBC’s engineering department for more than 15 years.

“Businesses have partnered with educational institutions for probably as long as educational institutions have been around,” Parsons Bell said.

“It’s just another way to provide legacies for those communities in which you operate.”

Thompson Rivers University also signed an agreement in April for $500,000 in contributions.

Parsons Bell confirmed Trans Mountain has had “conversations” with officials at the University of the Fraser Valley and Simon Fraser University, but could not provide the status of any talks.

Talks are also underway and in varying degrees of progress with Lower Mainland cities along the pipeline route – Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley Township, Surrey and Coquitlam – with the exception of Burnaby, which has refused to talk to the company.

The most advanced was Chilliwack, where city council last month 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.

Critics had argued that offer had the appearance of a “bribe” because Chilliwack had not yet filed its comments on the project to the NEB.

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.

Parsons Bell denied the company is pressing for early agreements to help neuter public opposition to the pipeline as the NEB process nears the oral hearing stage.

She said doing deals early helps the company plan and potentially arrange to have pipeline project workers do the local improvements while they’re in the area.

Trans Mountain pipeline project spokesperson Lizette Parsons Bell meets an Australian stick bug that resides at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Plant Health and Urban Ecosystem Lab in Langley. Jeff Nagel photo

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

partial graphic used in "Get Serious" campaign by Surrey business groups.
‘Get Serious’ message about COVID pushed by Surrey business groups fearing ‘economic shutdown’

‘Different social media messages will be sent out daily with significant messaging…’

Stock photo
Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

Pixabay image
OUR VIEW: Grow up and join the fight against COVID-19 in Surrey

All of us in Surrey need to ask ourselves if we are on the right side of the fight against COVID-19, or are we not

Surrey RCMP Corporal Joanie Sidhu. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Surrey RCMP stats say violent crime has dropped by seven per cent

That’s for the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Lawrence Nadessan, 44, was last seen on Oct. 24 at 11:30 p.m. in Maple Ridge.
Maple Ridge man missing since Saturday is extremely out of character, family says

Cameras saw him leaving home, not dressed for the weather

A group of Abbotsford secondary principals’s and vice-principals are at a retreat in Whistler this weekend. (Whistler.com photo)
Abbotsford principals attend retreat in Whistler despite COVID-19 gathering restrictions

Reported group of 20 did follow COVID-19 protocols during Whistler Pro-D event, says school district

Most Read