Senneville adopts resolution asking for Enbridge to conduct hydrostatic pipeline testing
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Senneville Mayor Jane Guest and the six council members unanimously adopted a resolution at
the Monday evening council meeting on May 25, calling on the federal National Energy Board to
mandate Enbridge to conduct hydrostatic testing of its 9B oil pipeline that will carry unrefined
crude oil from western Canada to Montreal.
The Village of Senneville joined two more neighbouring West Island municipalities and unanimously adopted a resolution at its May 25 council meeting calling on Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) to require Enbridge Inc. to conduct hydrostatic testing of its 9B pipeline that will carry unrefined crude oil from western Canada to refineries in Montreal East.
Concerns about possible water contamination in Lac St. Louis from a potential leak along the pipeline underneath a stretch of the Ottawa River near Rigaud also prompted Ste. Anne de Bellevue and neighbouring Baie D’Urfé to adopt similar resolutions at their respective council meetings just over two weeks ago.
The resolutions were adopted one month after brief statements about the pipeline were made by representatives from Le Citoyens au Courant during question period in April, asking each municipal council whether they would consider adopting a by-law calling on Enbridge to conduct hydrostatic tests. Since all the waterways in the St. Lawrence River Valley are interconnected by a downriver flow, a leak into the Ottawa River would eventually make its way to West Island municipalities, said spokesperson Sandra Stephenson.
She added hydrostatic testing would help ensure the structural integrity of the almost 40-yearold pipeline by detecting microscopic holes and fissures that could then be repaired. Senneville Mayor Jane Guest said council unanimously adopted the resolution through, “A sense of obligation to make sure our voices are heard and to make sure a leak doesn’t occur.” The municipality’s northwestern shoreline borders the Lake of Two Mountains which flows into Lac St. Louis in neighbouring Ste. Anne de Bellevue through the canal and rapids.
“Our village could be affected should anything happen,” Guest told Your Local Journal. “Hopefully it won’t because the Lake of Two Mountains would be sullied. We realized it was a good move and we had a moral obligation as well. God forbid that anything should happen but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa said the possibility of oil washing up along its shoreline, which could also affect its water source, promoted the city to unanimously adopt a similar resolution. “It could have a direct influence on us if there ever was a break in that pipeline. It crosses the Ottawa River and we’re downriver from it. We could potentially see oil on our shore.” District 2 Councillor Ryan Young, who is also running for the NDP in the federal riding of Lac-Saint-Louis, said cuts made by the federal Conservative government to environmental safeguards, particularly regarding oil pipeline safety, could have a negative impact in the future.
“There is a general sense of distrust regarding the current regulatory framework since the Conservative government changed the environmental laws,” said Young. “I feel that whether you’re for or against the pipeline, there’s a sense that the current regulatory framework for these sorts of things isn’t strict enough.”
Baie D’Urfé Councillor Lynda Phelps said the municipality isn’t opposed to the pipeline and acknowledges that Enbridge conducts regular maintenance and testing, but is concerned about the company’s reluctance to specifically perform hydrostatic tests on the 9B pipeline.
“Their answer to doing hydrostatic testing is that detection of a small failure could cause a larger breakdown which doesn’t leave us with a warm and fuzzy feeling,” said Phelps. “We would like the NEB to get Enbridge to do the hydrostatic tests.”