Union Gas District Manager Sean Collier at Chatham-Kent Rural Pipeline Project public information session in Dresden. March 6, 2018. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent.)

Union Gas Proposes New Pipeline Project In Chatham-Kent (GALLERY)

A new pipeline project is in the works to fill the high demand for natural gas in Chatham-Kent.

Union Gas is proposing to construct a new 500 metre 12-inch and a 13 km 8-inch natural gas pipeline in Chatham-Kent.

The company held a public information session for the Chatham-Kent Rural Pipeline Project on Tuesday at the Old Czech Hall in Dresden.

Union Gas District Manager Sean Collier says the purpose of the public consultation session was to give people in the area an opportunity to learn more about the proposed project and give the company feedback. Representatives from Stantec Consulting Ltd., which is involved in the project, were also at the event.

Collier says there are a few different aspects of the project.

“Essentially what we are trying to do is increase capacity and accommodate additional demand for natural gas in the area,” explains Collier. “We’re proposing to construct two new pipelines in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent with the Bear Line section in Dover Centre area and the Base Line section in Dresden area.”

Collier says the proposed pipelines will meet the growing agricultural, commercial, and industrial market demand for natural gas in Chatham-Kent and surrounding areas.

He adds that Union Gas is also very excited about Chatham-Kent’s fast-growing greenhouse market and wants to support its high need for natural gas.

“It’s pretty significant on the greenhouse front. We see a lot of growth in the greenhouse industry in the Chatham-Kent area, as well as in the Leamington and Kingsville area… the demand is very strong,” says Collier.

The application process for the pipeline project will start this spring.

“It’s filed with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and then it follows that process. Typically that process takes up to a year. There’s opportunity for interveners to ask questions and provide input as well,” he says. “It’s essentially a public process.”

The company reports that designs and construction plans, as well as OEB approval, should be ready by the summer or fall of this year. Construction will begin in spring of 2019 and finish sometime in the fall.

According to Collier, acquiring the land for the pipeline project is an ongoing process. He adds that he is not sure yet how many jobs the project will create.

“These projects do stimulate the local economy. You can see that with the Panhandle line that we installed recently. The impact to the Wallaceburg economy was quite significant with hundreds of workers coming in to work on the project,” explains Collier. “This one is a little bit smaller, so the impact won’t be as large, but it still does stimulate the economy.”

Collier says two of the company’s top priorities are the environment and safety.

“We’re always making sure that these projects are done right… that we do the right consultation and that the community supports the work that we’re doing,” he says.