It’s Lexa Hobenshield’s job to make sure the people who live and work in communities along the proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project route are informed about the proposed Project and have a chance to ask questions and provide input. We asked Lexa to tell us more about her role and why it’s so important to engage with stakeholders along the proposed expansion route.
What’s your background and how long have your worked for Kinder Morgan Canada (KMC)?
I was raised in rural northwestern BC where my family was in the logging industry and have lived in the Lower Mainland since moving to Burnaby to attend SFU as a teenager. I never dreamed I’d make a career helping to make responsible decisions about industry.
I’ve been with Kinder Morgan Canada since 2007 and have had a connection to the Trans Mountain pipeline for quite a bit longer. As a young man, my dad worked to clear the pipeline right-of-way in the early 1950s near Kamloops. I learned so much from my dad. He had an amazing work ethic and was a great listener. In my office, I keep a photo of him on an old D8 Cat while working on the pipeline to remind me of my roots.
What is your connection to the communities the proposed Project will impact?
I now make my home in the Lower Mainland and enjoy what the region has to offer. Many of our stakeholders are neighbours I see at the grocery store, at school pickup and drop-off and at events in the community.
What do you do on the Project and why?
I’m responsible for engagement on our proposed expansion between Hope and Burnaby, BC. It’s my job to ensure stakeholders have information about our plans, have the opportunity to ask questions and can provide their input. I make sure their feedback is considered in our decision making.
I get a lot of satisfaction out of building relationships, based on trust and credibility. I like to meet new people and learn about their interests. It’s very rewarding to know that a community member has put their trust in me to take their concerns back to the Project team, and that their interests will be considered in making decisions about the Project.
I am proud to be an employee of a company that cares.
Why does collecting feedback matter and how does it change a project?
Providing the opportunity for input to those who will be impacted by the Project is a critical part of responsible resource development. Decisions about the Project must balance a number of sometimes complicated factors – including technical and social considerations.
Responsible resource development means listening to community members where our Project will have an impact and modifying our plans where practical. We are neighbours in communities along the line – considering input is the right thing to do.
Have changes happened in your region in response to feedback?
The input and feedback we have gathered has created a stronger, safer and more responsive Project. Examples of the changes resulting in response to feedback and concerns include:
- A proposed increase in isolation valves on the pipeline, from 94 to 126, resulting in a significant reduction of potential spill volumes
- An increase in pipeline wall thickness in high consequence areas, such as urban locations and at river crossings
- Routing of the pipeline to avoid 22 river crossings at significant fish bearing rivers such as the Fraser River, upper North Thompson, Albreda, Coldwater and Coquihalla River
- Routing to avoid environmentally sensitive areas such as Cheam Wetlands
- Avoid adjacent neighbourhoods and minimize community impact in Burnaby by using a tunnel route option through Burnaby Mountain
- As a result of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project there will be $100 million invested in WCMRC to enhance spill response capabilities along the tanker route, double the response capacity, cut federal response time planning standards in half for the southern shipping route, five new response bases and up to 100 new jobs created
What would you consider a success for consultation?
Our engagement efforts will be successful when we know that those who live near the Trans Mountain Expansion Project over the next 60 years have had a say in how the Project was developed.
In addition to creating a better Project through listening and responding to the input from local communities, we are also leaving lasting benefits behind in communities in recognition of the temporary impacts our Project will have during construction.
I believe this will add to the overall success and benefits of the Project.
What else would you like the public to know about Trans Mountain?
Our employees are proud of the work they do and are proud to show you around their facility. We are proud to bring our sons and daughters to work. We have instances of two and three generations working for Trans Mountain.