The residents of Scarborough-Agincourt got a chance to have their voices heard during a public meeting held to discuss a new project to build two new natural gas pipelines in the GTA.
Enbridge hosted an open house Thursday night at Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute on Pharmacy Avenue. The purpose of the event was to provide information about the pipelines and get feedback from the residents in the area (Ward 39) who will be affected by the project.
“It’s about engaging the community … we’re not making a decision until we hear from them,” Craig Fernandes, project development manager, said.
The section of pipeline involving the residents of Scarborough in the area between Warden Avenue and Pharmacy Avenue towards Finch Avenue is called Segment B in the project.
Chris Meyer, Enbridge’s communications manager, said the GTA’s network of natural gas pipeline has not been updated in over 20 years and it is time for an upgrade.
“They’re kind of like the highways of our distribution system. It would almost be like adding a lane to a part of the highway,” she said.
The project has outlined two new routes to meet the growing demand for natural gas in the communities outside of Toronto.
It’s very annoying to have things like this go on, nobody show up and everybody complain later.
— Pat Devlin
The proposed plan involves a Preliminary Preferred Route [PPR] and an alternative route. The PPR will run along an existing utility corridor, which is already set aside for things like hydro towers and pipelines. The alternative route will be outside of this corridor.
Jeanne McMulkin has been a resident in the area for over 30 years and came to the open house to learn more about the project.
“As a concerned citizen I came out because I live in proximity to the pipeline. I’m concerned … I’m interested in safety. It’s also close to schools as it goes through the hydro fields,” McMulkin said.
Meyer assured residents that safety is Enbridge’s number one priority and that all measures are taken to ensure that people living near natural gas pipelines are not in any danger.
Pat Devlin lives on the edge of the proposed route and attended the open house because she received a notice about the project from her local city councillor, Mike Del Grande (Ward 39).
“The reason I came was that he [Del Grande] had taken the trouble to let us know and I figured that if people take the trouble to let you know the least you can do is respond,” Devlin said. “It’s very annoying to have things like this go on, nobody show up and everybody complain later.”
The proposed plan still needs to be approved by the Ontario Energy Board before construction can begin. If the routes are approved, the construction of Segment B will start in 2015.
Enbridge will hold two more open houses in Markham and Toronto next week to give residents the opportunity to learn more and voice any concerns they may have about the project.