• John Jantak

Senneville asked to consider adopting hydrostatic pipeline testing resolution


Senneville Mayor Jane Guest said town council will review issues related to hydrostatic testing of the Enbridge 9B oil pipeline to determine whether it will adopt a resolution at its next council meeting to request the National Energy Board to mandate Enbridge to conduct the tests.

The Village of Senneville was asked to consider joining other off -island municipalities and adopt a resolution at its next municipal council meeting calling on Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) to get Enbridge to conduct hydrostatic testing of its 9B oil pipeline to ensure its safety before it begins operating. The request was made during question period at the town’s council meeting on Monday evening, April 27, by Sandra Stephenson, a Rigaud resident and member of Les Citoyens au Courant.

The group is comprised mostly of residents and farmers from the western off -island municipalities of Pointe- Fortune, Rigaud, Ste. Justine de Newton and Très St. Rédempteur, who are concerned about the planned oil flow reversal along the 9B pipeline that runs through or near their communities and underneath the Ottawa River.

The pipeline will transport crude oil from western Canada to Montreal and residents are worried that a possible oil leak could result in serious consequences to their agricultural lands, underground aquifers and the Ottawa River which flows into Lac St. Louis and along the shoreline of several nearby West Island municipalities. Senneville Mayor Jane Guest said the town received information from the group about the pipeline and the apparent reluctance by the NEB to demand Enbridge conduct hydrostatic tests which would ensure the structural integrity of the pipeline, about 10 days prior to Monday’s council meeting.

Given the short time frame, Guest said council did not have ample time to thoroughly review the fi le to make a properly informed decision regarding whether it should present and adopt a resolution at Monday’s public meeting. She added the issue will be discussed again at its next caucus to determine whether a resolution will be presented for adoption at its next council session in late May.

“I think it’s a very important issue,” Guest told Your Local Journal. “We discussed it at our last caucus but not all the councillors were present. The ones that were there felt that it was more than just a political decision to pass a resolution. It’s about being able to understand the whole scientific aspect and that is something that not all of them have the competency to do. “In order to do that, it really means digging into it in much more depth and setting aside time for our town manager to open a file on it,” Guest added. “It’s not something that the councillors felt they could delve into right now with all the other priorities that we have. We all recognize the significance of it but we just don’t know or can judge whether hydrostatic testing is the way to go or not.”

Stephenson said she is hopeful that Senneville will adopt a resolution because of the negative effect a potential oil spill could have along its shoreline. “I asked them to consider the public safety consequences of a break in the pipeline on the Ottawa River,” she said. “Although there is scientific expertise that could be brought in and drawn on in order to think about what position the town should take, town councillors are always making decisions concerning public safety without necessarily having all the scientific expertise. I think the orientation should be better safe than sorry,” Stephenson added.

The West Island municipality of Beaconsfield adopted its own resolution during its Monday evening council meeting to show support for the 13 off -island municipalities within the Municipalité Régionale Communauté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges that have already adopted resolutions, including Hudson and St. Lazare. The MRC also adopted a resolution last week. “We feel that we have a moral obligation to support the towns that are requesting this,” said Mayor Georges Bourelle. “It’s the proper thing to do environmentally and we feel it’s the right thing that should be done. We’re very sympathetic to those towns that are directly involved.”

Ste. Anne de Bellevue is presently studying the issue as well and will consider whether it will adopt a similar resolution at its next council meeting in early May.