Federal approval of 344 km of pipeline is ‘economic boom’ region needs: Mayor Rocky Mountain House

The Town of Rocky Mountain House welcomed the Federal Government’s final approval of the NOVA Gas Transmission 2021 System Expansion Project.

The $2.3-billion project will add 344 kilometres of new pipeline to the existing NOVA Gas Transmission system from west of Red Deer to near Grande Prairie and create up to 2,920 direct jobs during construction.

“This is the economic boon our region needs at this time,” said Town of Rocky Mountain House Mayor Tammy Burke Oct. 22.

This project will have an immediate positive effect on the area economy, with construction on the project segments near Rocky Mountain House to begin as soon as early December.

“We have a very qualified service industry in our community,” said Burke. “TC Energy has indicated they will be looking to local contractors to meet some of its workforce demand, and it is our hope that local businesses are able to benefit from this important project.”

The Town of Rocky Mountain House encourages local businesses and service-providers to register with TC Energy directly and keep in touch with the Rocky Chamber to stay abreast of contract and employment opportunities associated with this project.

Local hospitality businesses have already reported significant room bookings for this project. Food and beverage and retail sectors also stand to benefit. 

“We hope this is just the first of many project approvals that will strengthen our economy and quality of life,” said Burke.

The Government of Canada approved the NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) 2021 System Expansion Project with 35 conditions.

The federal government made amendments to the Canada Energy Regulator’s conditions for approval, related to caribou and Indigenous engagement. They strengthened five conditions proposed by the regulator and added one new condition in order to better address impacts to section 35 Indigenous rights and help mitigate the disruption of the project’s construction on caribou habitat. As part of these updated conditions, NGTL will now be required to restore 3,840 hectares of caribou habitat (30 times the size of the habitat impacted by the project) and seek to establish an Indigenous Working Group to assist with the planning for restoration and monitoring for the protection of the Little Smoky Caribou range. They also approved a new accommodation measure to expand eligibility for the Terrestrial Cumulative Effects Initiative to monitor the cumulative impacts on the environment.

In total, the proponent must comply with 35 binding conditions related to safety, environmental and wildlife protection, Indigenous engagement, and protection or Indigenous rights and interest.

The pipeline will give natural gas producers better access to markets for their products. The project will also help facilitate the phase out of coal-fired electricity by 2030.   

Construction work is expected to begin in December 2020 and pipeline construction activities expected to start in January 2021.

TC Energy photo