Controversial YVR jet fuel pipeline heading to Richmond council

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The City of Richmond has its own pipeline controversy, this one involving the movement of jet fuel. Ted Chernecki has the latest developments – May 23, 2018

A controversial pipeline that would transport jet fuel to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is one step closer to construction.

The proposed line would run from the south arm of the Fraser River across the city to the airport on Sea Island. The finished project would include a marine terminal on the Fraser, 15 kilometres of pipeline and a tank farm with six tanks and a capacity of 80 million litres.

A number of those tanks are already under construction or in place.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie told Global News that the city is expecting the consortium of airlines backing the project to bring applications for three key pieces of paperwork to municipal lawmakers soon.

READ MORE: Jet fuel pipeline for YVR nears final decision

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“All those three documents, the development permit, the access agreement, the servicing agreement, that has to go to city council,” he said.

“The development permit has been approved by the development permit panel, but it still has to go to city council for approval.”

The pipeline has been in the works since at least 2013, when it was given a conditional environmental assessment approval by Environment Canada.

A citizen’s group previously tried to have the assessment certificate quashed, but was unsuccessful. Residents have also voiced vocal opposition.

Richmond’s mayor and council have long opposed the project, which they say brings increased risk of spills and fires.

WATCH: YVR jet fuel facility protest

“Our city council has expressed many times its displeasure formally to the idea that we should have a jet fuel pipeline,” Brodie said.

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“Why are we taking it to the diametrically opposite corner of Richmond and having all the risk and having the tankers coming up the river regularly, rather than just bringing it right to the airport?”

The north arm of the Fraser, adjacent to the airport, is not wide enough for the size of barges the airport consortium wants to use to deliver the fuel.

READ MORE: Protesters rally against jet fuel facility at YVR

Much of the jet fuel used by the airport is currently transported by truck from Washington state refineries.

The Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC) says the existing jet fuel delivery system is at maximum capacity and the volume of jet fuel produced by refineries in Vancouver does not meet the demand.

WATCH: YVR Fuel Fight

The province has previously said the line would increase the tanker traffic on the lower Fraser River, but reduce the number of tankers on the road.

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The double-hulled tankers would be pre-screened before entering Canadian waters, then escorted by a pair of tugs, it said.

Brodie says he’s not sure exactly when pipeline proponents will bring their case before council, but expects it some time within the next two months.

The airlines say once permits are secured from Richmond, it will take about three years to finish the project.

— With files from Ted Chernecki