Coquitlam mayor demands FortisBC cover city costs left by gas line upgrade

The City of Coquitlam has no problem with FortisBC digging up one its major arteries, as long as the gas company doesn’t leave it worse off.

“You get to lay your pipeline,” said Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart. “Just don’t make us subsidize [it] with tax dollars.”

The city has made a submission to the B.C. Utilities Commission demanding that when FortisBC makes gas line upgrades under Como Lake Avenue, it has to remove the old line and repave the roadway curb to curb.

Work started last year on the 20-kilometer stretch between Vancouver and Coquitlam. The 60-year-old natural gas line will be replaced with a larger 30-inch pipeline to meet the growing demand in the Lower Mainland.

Lane closures along Como Lake Avenue are expected to cause major traffic headaches that will last up to eight months.

Stewart says if FortisBC only plans to patch up the road, it will be left looking like a washboard and will eventually need to be replaced.

“Straight pavement can last 40 years, but as soon as you cut it its life is shortened enormously,” he explained.

FortisBC insisted the demands by Coquitlam were above and beyond that of other cities like Vancouver and Burnaby.

“Our standard practice is to decommission the gas line and leave it in place,” FortisBC wrote in a statement to Global News.

“As well, we will be repaving the lanes that are disturbed during construction, as outlined in our operating agreements. This is what we have agreed to in both Vancouver and Burnaby, who we have similar operating agreements with.”

Mayor Stewart says if the B.C. Utilities Commission’s mandate does not factor in covering costs to municipalities, he wants Attorney General David Eby to change it.

Construction is scheduled to start in early March and end in the fall of 2019.

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