Eagle Mountain - Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project

About this project

As a utility, meeting the energy needs of our customers is what FortisBC does every day.

That’s why when our customer Woodfibre LNG asked us if we could deliver natural gas to them, we began to explore how and proposed the Eagle Mountain – Woodfibre Gas Pipeline (EGP) Project. And we also started talking with the community right away.

The proposed project will expand a portion of our existing natural gas transmission system, which was built in 1990 to serve Squamish, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.

It involves adding about 47 kilometres of new 24-inch pipe, beginning north of the Coquitlam watershed and ending at the proposed Woodfibre LNG site. Work will be finished in time for Woodfibre LNG's scheduled in-service date of 2023.

Quick facts

The proposed route

Eagle Mountain project rendering

Generally, the new pipeline will follow the existing gas pipeline route to limit new impacts to the environment along the route.

In some cases, following the existing route entirely will not be possible. We will always try to minimize impact and respond to feedback.

Examples include:

  • achieving the shortest possible route and the smallest overall footprint
  • minimizing crossings of streams and rivers
  • incorporating First Nations, landowner and stakeholder input
  • avoiding known archaeological or heritage sites
  • avoiding sensitive terrain and environmental areas

We are continuing to engage with stakeholders, communities and First Nations to refine the pipeline route to minimize impacts, while also being safe and practical.

Take a closer look at LNG

By providing Woodfibre LNG with natural gas, this will allow them to produce liquefied natural gas, also known as LNG. It’s made from the same natural gas you use for cooking and heating in your home every day.

LNG is produced by cooling natural gas to -162 C, which transforms it into a colourless, non-toxic liquid that is much smaller in size. In this liquid state, it is stored and transported in double-walled insulated tanks.

It can then be used as a fuel for trucks and ships, or exported to communities overseas where it’s converted to heat homes and businesses.

FortisBC has been working safely with LNG for more than 40 years, and travel throughout B.C. doing live demonstrations and presentations to explain what LNG is.

As part of these safety demonstrations, our team explains how LNG is made and how it interacts with air, water and soil.

Mount Mulligan compressor station

Compressor stations help us maintain the flow of gas through our system and to our customers’ homes and businesses. To provide service to Woodfibre LNG, we asked for feedback from the public and Squamish Nation during the environmental assessment processes, and as a result of the comments received, made significant changes to our project design to address safety and environmental concerns from First Nations communities. We’ll continue to listen and respond as we move forward.

We have proposed to build new electric powered compressor units at our Eagle Mountain compressor station in Coquitlam. We’ve also proposed to build a new natural gas powered compression station outside Squamish, near the base of Mount Mulligan.

The proposed Mount Mulligan compressor facility will help keep the gas moving through our existing system as it makes its way to our existing customers in Squamish, Whistler, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.

Have questions about the Mount Mulligan compressor station option? Watch our quick video to learn about our approach to safety, the environment and compressor station noise. 

Rigorous environmental reviews and research

For more than five years, we’ve been meeting with local residents, community groups, First Nations, stakeholders, local government and the regulators to gather and incorporate feedback into our environmental assessment application.

On June 24, 2016, Squamish Nation Chiefs and Council voted to approve the project. On August 9, 2016, the provincial government issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate for the project.

In spring 2019, we’ll begin the process of developing the condition management plans that were included as part of the certificate. We’re continuing to incorporate all of the conditions as we work on the detailed design of the project.

We will also continue engaging with Indigenous groups, local stakeholders and the community as the project moves forward.

Protecting the Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area

Eagle Mountain - Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project tunnel diagram

The 673-hectare Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area (WMA) plays an important ecological role and serves as habitat for wildlife.

Our existing system has been operating underneath the WMA since 1991 safely and without incident.

To access the Woodfibre LNG site, a segment of the proposed expanded pipeline section needs to be installed underneath the WMA. We are committed to operating responsibly and mitigating potential environmental impacts.

In response to public and First Nations input, FortisBC has proposed the following approach to installing the pipeline under the estuary:

  • An underground tunnel would be built about 30 metres below the surface of the WMA. The new sections of pipeline will be installed within the tunnel.
  • Trenchless construction would continue through the Monmouth Ridge Mountain. The exit point will be on the Woodfibre site.

This construction technique is similar to what was used to build the new Port Mann water main deep below the Fraser River.

Some additional geotechnical testing will be required near the exit point. We will completely avoid surface disruptions in the WMA.

Everyone who visits Squamish immediately appreciates the natural beauty of the area. FortisBC has taken this into consideration by planning safe methods of construction to minimize disruption to birds and wildlife. This project is about making our community stronger and sustainable – both environmentally and economically.

Colin Geddes Tom Harris Cellular, Squamish

Upcoming geotechnical work in Coquitlam

Beginning in early November, FortisBC will start carrying out geotechnical investigations for the project’s facilities. This involves drilling narrow, vertical holes to learn more about the underground layers of soil and rock.

This early investigative work will be carried out in Coquitlam, at the site of our new FortisBC high voltage substation. The site of this new facility is adjacent to the existing BC Hydro Meridian Substation, and will eventually provide additional power to our existing Eagle Mountain compressor station.

We will ensure that the work meets environmental requirements, and we anticipate it will take approximately one week to complete. Geotechnical investigations will also take place in mid-November at the Eagle Mountain compressor station property and will take approximately three weeks to complete.

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Upcoming geotechnical work within District of Squamish

In early November, we will be carrying out additional geotechnical investigations to fine-tune our plans. This includes work within the District of Squamish, including two locations along Industrial Way and Finch Drive. This work involves drilling narrow, vertical holes so we can learn more underground conditions.

As part of this work, temporary partial lane closures will be required on Industrial and Finch, near the Highway 99 intersection, to ensure the safety of the public and our contractors. Beginning at the start of next week, work will take approximately two days at each location and we anticipate finishing in early November.

One of our contractors will also conduct a field survey at locations along Finch Drive in early November. This will assist in our project planning and detailed engineering, and this work should be finished by mid-November.

Squamish lane closure map

Upcoming community engagement

As part of our engagement on the Eagle Mountain – Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project, we’ll be meeting this fall with community leaders and associations to understand their perspectives. Our initial focus will be on potential impacts related to workforce accommodation and construction. We will be engaging the broader community at public information sessions in early 2020

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Geotechnical work begins on forest service roads in Indian River Valley

As our project planning continues, we are now starting to carry out geotechnical work along forest service roads in the Indian River Valley.

Geotechnical investigations involve drilling narrow, vertical holes so we can learn more about the soil and rock. Beginning this week, work will take place at various locations between the start of the Indian River forest service road and approximately three kilometres north of the Indian River – Hixon Creek forest service roads junction.

Environmental monitors will be onsite to make sure the work meets environmental requirements, and all work spaces will be carefully cleaned up once we have finished. Access may be restricted along these forest service roads, and work is anticipated to be finished by mid-October.

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Upcoming geotechnical work on forest service roads in Indian River Valley

As we continue our project planning, we will be carrying out geotechnical work along forest service roads in the Indian River Valley during the summer months.

Geotechnical investigations involve drilling narrow, vertical holes so we can learn more about the soil and rock. Beginning in mid-July, work will take place between the start of the Indian River forest service road and approximately three kilometres north of the Indian River – Hixon Creek forest service roads junction.

Environmental monitors will be onsite to make sure the work meets environmental requirements, and all work spaces will be carefully cleaned up once we have finished. Access may be restricted along these forest service roads, and work is anticipated to be finished by mid-September.

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Upcoming geotechnical work on private properties

We’re continuing to fine-tune our engineering and design for the project, and beginning this week we will be carrying out geotechnical investigations. This involves drilling narrow, vertical holes to learn more about the underground layers of soil and rock.

This early investigative work will be carried out on private land at the BC Rail property and the Woodfibre LNG site. The information we gather will help us plan the pipeline tunnel underneath the Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area.

We will ensure that the work meets environmental requirements, and we anticipate it will take approximately three weeks to complete.

We are planning for additional geotechnical work that will take place at locations along the pipeline route in 2019, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.

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Squamish Nation approves economic benefit agreement

The Squamish Nation’s decision to approve the economic agreement is a significant and positive milestone for FortisBC’s Eagle Mountain to Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project. This approval has been issued as part of the Squamish Nation’s environmental approval process and FortisBC is proud to be a part of this negotiation, which is the first of its kind in Canada.

As part of its agreement with Squamish Nation, FortisBC is committed to delivering comprehensive economic benefits, including employment and training opportunities. In addition, we will be undertaking studies around improvements to energy efficiency and infrastructure location.

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Join us for free mini golf and BBQ lunch

We’re proud to be part of the Squamish community and we want to meet our neighbours. Join us for a free game of mini golf, a BBQ lunch, fun prizes and giveaways.

Date: Sunday, June 24, 2018
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: WhistlePunk Hollow Adventure Golf
1940 Centennial Way, Squamish

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Squamish Community Office – Update

While our current phase of planning work is ongoing, we have reduced our presence and community office hours at our location on Cleveland Avenue. We value the feedback we receive from local stakeholders and residents, and we will be available by scheduling an appointment in advance. Contact us at talkingenergy@fortisbc.com.

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Squamish Community office reopens

FortisBC and Woodfibre LNG celebrated the reopening of our Squamish Community Office on June 14. The event celebrated the continued support we have received from the local community, and will be open from Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Squamish Community office reopens
(L to R) Art Kanzaki, FortisBC’s Project Director, Eagle Mountain – Woodfibre Gas Pipeline; Cynthia Des Brisay, FortisBC’s Vice President of Midstream Services & Resource Development and Elliot Moses, FortisBC ‘s Community & Indigenous Relations Manager attended the reopening of the Squamish Community Office.

 

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FortisBC explains why trees were removed for safety during geotechnical investigations

Viviana, our community relations manager, addresses some of the geotechnical work that took place during the fall of 2016, about halfway between the Woodfibre LNG site and the Squamish Estuary. She summarizes the steps we took in advance of the clearing work that took place, as well as the steps we took to mitigate our impact to that area.

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FortisBC completes geotechnical work on the Squamish dike

Spit Road re-opens to pedestrian and vehicle traffic now that FortisBC crews have completed geotechnical investigations along the Squamish dike.

The subsurface data collected over the past several weeks will help us properly manage tunnel construction underneath the Skwelwilem Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management area for the Eagle Mountain to Woodfibre Pipeline Project. Work was suspended when crews encountered a pocket of naturally occurring gases, and notified safety and regulatory authorities.

We appreciate the public's patience.

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Woodfibre LNG authorized to continue with proposed LNG export facility

Woodfibre LNG Limited announce that they have secured approval to move forward with their LNG export facility, to be located near Squamish, BC.

This is a positive step for FortisBC's Eagle Mountain to Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project. We will continue to work on design and permitting of the pipeline to serve Woodfibre's facility.

FortisBC's proposed Eagle Mountain to Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project is a 47-kilometre expansion to our existing Vancouver Island natural gas transmission system to deliver gas to the Woodfibre LNG facility in Squamish. Earlier this year the Eagle Mountain Gas Pipeline project received environmental approval from the Squamish First Nation and an Environmental Assessment Certificate from the provincial government.

We will continue our discussions with Indigenous groups, stakeholders, and the public as the project moves forward.

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Our response to incident at Squamish Community Office

The safety of our employees and the public, and the security of our assets is FortisBC's number one priority.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, November 3rd, a small fire was intentionally set at our Community Office in Squamish. Thankfully, there were no injuries as a result of this incident. We are supporting Squamish Fire Rescue and Squamish RCMP as they continue their investigation.

Our Community Office has been a place of peaceful and constructive dialogue for more than two years. We know that this incident is not representative of the community of Squamish.

We are grateful to Squamish Fire Rescue and Squamish RCMP or their quick response to this incident.

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Provincial government issues Environmental Assessment Certificate

The provincial government grants the Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project with environmental assessment approval. Read the official release.

Squamish Nation Chiefs and Council voted to approve an Environmental Assessment Agreement

Squamish Nation Chiefs and Council vote to approve an Environmental Assessment Agreement for the proposed Eagle Mountain – Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project and issue an Environmental Certificate to FortisBC. Read the news release.

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Open house in Squamish

FortisBC representatives host an open house in Squamish to support the Environmental Assessment Office public comment period.

Public comment period on FortisBC addenda on final report to Environmental Assessment Office

A public comment period for our addenda on our final report takes place from September 24 to October 15, 2015. Comments helped the BC Environmental Assessment Office ensure that all environmental, economic, social, heritage and health concerns related to our proposed addenda have been part of the assessment process.

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Squamish Nation Council outlines a series of environmental conditions

Squamish Nation Council outlines a series of environmental conditions as a result of its review, and we revise our plans to address their conditions.

District of Squamish open house

View the materials from the open house hosted by the District of Squamish.

Open house in Coquitlam

FortisBC representatives host an open house in Coquitlam to support the Environmental Assessment Office public comment period.

Open house in Squamish

FortisBC representatives host an open house in Squamish to support the Environmental Assessment Office public comment period.

Open house in Gibsons

FortisBC representatives host an open house in Gibsons to discuss the project and answer questions.

Open house in Coquitlam

FortisBC representatives host an initial open house in Coquitlam to discuss the project and answer questions.

Open house in Squamish

FortisBC representatives host an initial open house in Squamish to discuss the project and answer questions.

Indigenous engagement

Indigenous feedback helps to improve our Eagle Mountain – Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project

We value working directly with local First Nations to listen to their concerns and understand their perspective. We’re engaging with the following First Nations to discuss the expansion project details and listen to their questions and concerns:

Investing in our communities

We believe in supporting organizations that help build safe and caring communities within our service areas.

FortisBC hosts another fun family event in Squamish community

In June 2018, we sponsored a free mini-golf and barbecue event at the WhistlePunk Hollow Adventure RV Park for the community of Squamish. More than 100 people visited our booth and learned more about our natural gas services and our project in the area. Check out the event.

Squamish community event

Squamish community office turns down the heat

Elliot in Squamish community office

In October, our Squamish community office participated in the fourth annual province-wide Turn Down the Heat Week campaign, sponsored by the Business Improvement Areas of BC, the Downtown Squamish Business Improvement Association (BIA) and FortisBC. Read more.

Community grants support local initiatives

At FortisBC, we serve more than 135 communities across the province. Giving back to the communities where our 2,200 employees live and work is an important part of our efforts to create a sustainable future for British Columbians.

We’ve been a part of the Squamish community for more than 25 years. And we take our role as a good corporate citizen very seriously. The local recipients of our community investment grants include a wide-range of organizations that are working hard to make Squamish and the Sea-to-Sky region a better place to live. Read more.

Elliot presents cheque to Garibaldi Highlands Elementary

Squamish Day Loggers Sports Festival

Bryan Couture, president Squamish Day Loggers Sports Festival

The Squamish Day Loggers Sports Festival celebrates the connection between Squamish and local industry. Bryan Couture is the president of the Squamish Loggers Sports Association, and we spoke with him about the importance of the event to the community and how industry growth can benefit Squamish. Read the interview.