Pipes for the Trans Mountain pipeline project are seen at a storage facility near Hope in 2020. (File photo: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Pipes for the Trans Mountain pipeline project are seen at a storage facility near Hope in 2020. (File photo: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Prayer for salmon as Trans Mountain begins drilling under Surrey-Coquitlam river section

Pipeline work in Port Mann Bridge area

As Trans Mountain begins drilling under the Fraser River between Surrey and Coquitlam, Indigenous leaders have planned a prayer ceremony.

A four-foot-diameter borehole will be drilled under the river at Port Mann Bridge, emerging on the north side into a public park, according to Coast Protectors, which aims to “defend our land and our environment against Trans Mountain and climate change.”

A blowout during construction, or an oil spill during operation, “would have catastrophic consequences for the iconic Fraser and the most important salmon runs in the world,” the group warns.

In response, a ceremony to “pray for the safety of the salmon, ecosystems and cultural heritage that depend on a healthy Fraser river” is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday (May 29) at Coquitlam’s Maquabeak Park, with speakers and tours to the nearby drill site. Scheduled speakers include Kukpi7 Judy Wilson (executive board member of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs), Joe Foy (Wilderness Committee) and Sara Ross (Community Nest Finding Network/Protect the Planet Stop TMX).

• RELATED STORY, from October 2020: Pipeline work in Surrey starts soon, $500K trail network to come in Fraser Heights.

In early March, a dozen faith-based protestors formed a prayer circle at the Burnaby Trans Mountain construction site, which is undergoing tree clearing as part of the project.

Prep work to build the Surrey section of the expanded Trans Mountain pipeline began last fall.

• RELATED: Trans Mountain pipeline work proceeds with COVID-19 restrictions.

The Edmonton-to-Burnaby oil pipeline will be routed alongside South Fraser Perimeter Road in the Fraser Heights area, before crossing under the river north to Coquitlam, on a path just east of Port Mann Bridge.

The Surrey section of the “twinned” pipeline will be 11.5 kilometres in length.

News of the construction timeline was included in a Sept. 16 release about a “Community Benefit Agreement” that Trans Mountain, a federal Crown corporation, signed with the City of Surrey.

The pipeline builder will contribute $500,000 toward enhancing the local trail network in the Fraser Heights area of Surrey, as part of the corporation’s “commitment to ensure the expansion project benefits as many people as possible.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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