Richmond mayor pans 'dangerous' jet fuel pipeline plan
A proposal that would see millions of litres of jet fuel shipped into the mouth of the Fraser River in Richmond through a 15-kilometre jet fuel pipeline is being called dangerous by the city's mayor.
The pipeline is supposed to replace an existing 40-year-old line that runs from Burnaby to YVR. The line is now considered too small in light of the growth of B.C. and Vancouver's airport.
Currently, 25 trucks of jet fuel drive up from Washington State every day. But the consortium of airlines at YVR wants a new pipeline built under the city of Richmond. It would see tankers drop the fuel at a station in the south arm of the Fraser River, an area full of fish and wildlife habitat.
A public consultation meeting will be held Monday night, but Mayor Malcolm Brodie says he's already made up his mind.
"We think there could be a terrible calamity if there is an incident involving one of the barges or one of the tankers. So when you look to the environmental risk on the river it could be very considerable," Brodie told CTV News.
Brodie would like to see the tankers pull up to the Sea Island where the airport is located.
The airline consortium has been looking into a long-term solution for the past 10 years. They say they considered the option of bringing the fuel right to the Sea Island but didn't find it suitable, because shipping lanes block the way.
The group settled on shipping the fuel into the Fraser – unloading it in south Richmond and piping it under the city out to the airport.
Adrian Pollard of the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation says it's the safest solution. He stopped short of saying a spill will never happen, saying it's something he "can't guarantee."
"There's risk from everything that we do. I mean, we've got an existing fuel delivery infrastructure now that you know there's all kind of elements of risk related to tanker trucks driving hundreds of kilometers every day," he said.
While Richmond's mayor is concerned about the pipeline, he can't stop it. The provincial and federal governments will decide whether it's the best solution to solve YVR's growing need for increased fuel capacity.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Rob Brown