Indigenous community leaders in Canada are gaining unique insight into the planning and execution of the Line 3 Replacement Program, the largest capital project in Enbridge’s history.
Over the life of the project, a total of 27 bus tours are planned for Indigenous community leaders, three in each of the nine areas, or “spreads”—before, during and after construction.
“The idea originated this summer during discussions with Indigenous communities on construction monitoring,” explains Enbridge’s Kim Brenneis, Director of Community and Indigenous Engagement. “The number of monitoring positions on the project was limited, so we were looking for ideas that would give as many communities as possible insight into how we build a pipeline.”
Adds tour participant Phil Anaquod of the Muscowpewtung Saulteaux Nation, near Fort Qu’Appelle, SK: “It was quite informative. I was amazed at what modern technology can do, how fast the pipe actually goes into the ground, and how many kilometres they’re able to do in such a short time—those kinds of things.”
Anaquod has been studying the Line 3 Replacement Program since the application was first made to the National Energy Board. During the tour, he asked a number of technical questions that he says were answered to his satisfaction by the Enbridge tour hosts.
“I’m quite confident that the people that took the tour were amazed and satisfied at how things were going,” he adds. “You hear ‘Enbridge Line 3 Replacement’ on the news but when you take a physical site tour you have a better understanding. And the Enbridge people were able to answer the scientific enquiries that were put towards them and give the participants a good understanding.”
The tour concept was initiated by Enbridge as part of our Indigenous monitoring plan commitment to the NEB.
By early November, pre-construction tours had been completed in active areas, along with “during-construction” tours in Spreads 1 and 3. Thus far, individuals representing more than 20 different Indigenous communities have participated.
Each tour includes commentary at various spots along the right-of-way from Enbridge construction, lands, environment and community and Indigenous engagement personnel.
“With respect to the environmental part of the tour, we might be looking at a creek crossing or a wetland, or how we’re planning to cross sensitive environmental features along the pipeline right-of-way,” explains Brad Kilgour, an Environmental Advisor with Enbridge. “On one tour, participants were very interested in the horizontal directional drilling we’re doing under the South Saskatchewan River. A lot of them didn’t know how we did that and I think they were pleasantly surprised to see how we handle drilling fluids and minimize disturbance to the environment.
“I’ve been at lots of community events and open houses before, but the opportunity for them to see this type of activity first-hand was, I think, valuable to them,” Kilgour adds. “Enbridge is doing some really good things on this project, and we really like to show what we’re doing.”
(TOP PHOTO: Enbridge tour hosts and Indigenous leaders during a bus tour along the Line 3 Replacement Program right-of-way this fall.)