Downtown pipeline meeting prompts questions on maintenance, emergency planning

Burlington city hallMany thanks to the two dozen residents who attended last week’s public meeting to discuss the fuel pipeline that runs through downtown Burlington, from the beach strip and along Elgin Street and the Centennial Bikeway.

The pipeline is marked with yellow posts.

Thanks also to representatives from TransNorthern Pipeline, the Burlington Fire Department and the Transportation Safety Board for attending and explaining their role in prevention and response in an emergency.

Residents raised concerns about the age of the pipeline (61 years), and were told that sections of the pipeline have been repaired or completely replaced. We have asked for additional information on how much of the pipeline is new.

There were also questions about pipeline monitoring; TransNorthern said they regularly review the pipeline for leaks using flyovers, visits, and remote monitoring, and their technology to catch leaks is regularly improving. Residents noted that efforts failed to catch a previous leak into Bronte Creek which has spilled tens of thousands of litres of gas into the creek.

Residents also wanted to know about emergency response. The fire department said they are in regular contact with pipeline companies to review emergency plans, and occasionally conduct drills. Residents have asked whether a drill could be conducted on the downtown line.

For some, the meeting is the first knowledge they had of a pipeline in downtown Burlington. There was agreement that a public pipeline meeting should be held on a regular basis, whether annually or every two years, or even once a council term.

Resources:

See the map of the downtown pipeline, and review presentations from the public meeting here

Read the Burlington Post article here

My Take: I want to thank members of the downtown business community who first asked for a public meeting on pipelines, and appreciate the questions and concerns raised by residents. I’ve also received additional information following the meeting from residents, which is very helpful in understanding the impact of having a pipeline downtown, and ensuring residents are safe. We will do this again in the next term of council, with additional information and answers to questions that have come in since the meeting.

Your Take: Do you have questions or concerns about the downtown pipeline? Do you support a regular public meeting? Leave a comment below.

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