County Council Questioning Gas Pipeline Replacement Plan

A proposed natural gas pipeline project is raising eyebrows at Essex County Council.

Council heard from Enbridge Gas representatives Wednesday night about a plan to replace a 60km gas line spanning most of Essex County.

The $88-million project would replace an aging line, maintaining service, but not upgrading it — something Lakeshore mayor Tom Bain believes is a mistake.

He says with Essex County booming, with both residential and industrial development, better access to natural gas is needed.

Bain says some development has been slowed due to lack of gas.

"As recently as three years ago, we were in a situation building an industrial site. Union Gas had to come forward and build a secondary station just to supply enough gas. So if they really want to prepare for the future, they need a larger line there," he says.

Bain says he's worried about the future.

"When you look at Essex County, how it is today, how it's booming, I've got a lot of concerns that we're not going to have the gas that we're going to need in three years, five years from now," he says. "That growth is going to demand high production and it's not going to be there."

AM800-NEWS-Enbridge-natural-gas-pipeline-project-May-15-2019

The proposed route for a natural gas pipeline replacement planned by Enbridge Gas for 2020 (Photo courtesy of Enbridge Gas)

Bain argues there's no better time than now to upgrade.

"Now is the time when you enlarge that line. Especially when, if that's the size of line that took care of Essex County 50 years ago, we've grown so much and right now we're what I would consider booming, especially in the residential growth," he says. 

If the pipeline replacement is approved, Enbridge will begin construction in mid-2020.

The company says the project will create "hundreds of temporary local jobs" while "sourcing local goods and services wherever possible."