The old West Fraser mill site is to be a storage yard for Coastal GasLink contractors as work scales up for the company’s natural gas pipeline. (Laura Blackwell photo)

Former mill site slated for gas pipeline materials yard

Coastal GasLink work to accelerate next year

Houston and area residents will soon see more evidence of the ramp up of activity tied to the construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline south of the community.

The company is leasing the former West Fraser sawmill site as a pipe storage location as it accelerates preparations leading to next year’s start of actual construction.

“This site is about 40 hectares in size and as it an existing industrial site, it will require minimal preparation,” the company said in a prepared statement.

Coastal GasLink added that it also has agreements to use the rail siding on the property giving it access to the CN line for delivery of material.

“Pipe delivery to this site is not expected until 2020 and no one has been contacted as yet for the work at this site,” the company added.

And in another example of activity leading toward construction, the company is in talks with the District of Houston for infrastructure for connections to the District’s water supply for construction camps and for the disposal of waste from the same camps.

“The primary purpose behind a facility such as this would be to supply bulk water and allow for bulk sanitary sewer disposal, and would eliminate the need for the camps to have on-site water production and sewer treatment capacity,” explained District of Houston chief administrative office Gerald Pinchbeck.

“Discussions are ongoing with the stakeholders involved,” he said.

Preliminary work has started on one large camp south of Houston and there will be several small ones along the section of the pipeline leading toward its terminus at the LNG Canada site now under construction in Kitimat.

West Fraser closed its Houston Forest Products operation in 2014 and removed the majority of its infrastructure there.

The closure involved a controversial forest licence swap with Canfor in which that company closed its Quesnel mill. As part of the arrangement Canfor acquired West Fraser’s wood licences in Houston and West Fraser acquired Canfor’s licences in Quesnel so that the mills which weren’t closing would have access to an increased timber supply.

West Fraser subsequently sold its Houston site to local company West Point Rail and Timber Company Ltd. and it is this company which is leasing the site.

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