Bert Parker has been farming his 1,000-acre property outside Broadview, Saskatchewan, for nearly 30 years. And before him, his dad did. His family’s relationship with TransCanada goes back to the 1950s when his dad negotiated an agreement that allowed our company to bury the Canadian Mainline natural gas pipeline underneath a section of their property.
Bert is one of thousands of landowners TransCanada has worked with over the past decades across North America, and the long-standing relationship is a strong one, he says.
“All has been good with TransCanada. Every time they need access to my land, they phone out before they come and tell you what they are going to do and when they are going to be there,” Bert says. “We’ve never had any issue that I can remember of. If there is damage or some yield loss, they compensate you. What more can you ask for?”
As part of the proposed Energy East Pipeline Project, a 3,000-km portion of the Canadian Mainline will be converted to oil transport. The portion that is under Bert’s land will be part of the conversion.
“I have a land agent who has phoned me quite a few times and explained what would happen with Energy East and when this would happen. He was really good. He explained where it was going, the surveys they would need to do. I see no problem with this.”
At TransCanada, we are proud of the relationships we have built with more than 60,000 landowners across our North American pipeline network over the last 60 years. Since announcing the Energy East project in August 2013, we have consulted more than 7,000 landowners living around the proposed pipeline route that stretches from Alberta to New Brunswick. We are committed to discuss with them at every stage of the project.
Building and operating a pipeline requires years of preparation before construction begins. Developing a route happens only after we understand all the environmental, cultural and personal impacts the project may have on those who live in the vicinity of the proposed pipeline.
Working with landowners
Land agents are representatives of TransCanada who work with landowners to ensure all questions are answered, and any concern addressed, throughout the life of the project.
“We are committed to building a strong relationship with landowners because we’re going to be neighbours for several decades, and we want to be good neighbours,” says Jeff Burke, Land Manager for Energy East. “We seek to establish a positive dialogue with them and use the feedback they give us to find the best solutions for them and their land.”
Our land agents negotiate right-of-way agreements that grant TransCanada the right to build, operate and maintain a section of pipeline on a piece of their property. The landowner retains at all time the ownership of that land.
The relationships we build with landowners are based on trust and mutual respect, and it is the role of our land agents to keep them regularly informed of the project’s developments, guarantee the smallest possible amount of disruption, and address questions as quickly as possible.
Early in the project’s consultation phase, we contact all those who may be impacted by the pipeline and we work closely with them to identify land restrictions, access routes and other construction requirements. We develop solutions to minimize or eliminate any negative impact.
The Energy East pipeline team is committed to treating landowners with honesty, respect and fairness. Landowners want to understand what will occur on or near their land, and we want them to know that we will always take the time to answer their questions on a range of specific issues such as crops, fences, wells or drainage.
A strong respect for the land
Before construction begins, we conduct field studies to understand the environments in which we will be working. All this work is critical to gaining approval to build the pipeline. Once a preferred route is determined we begin the process of negotiating one-on-one agreements with landowners to gain access to their land.
Only when we have gained permission, and received all the appropriate pemits, can construction begin.
One thing that the landowners who have worked with us know about us is that we are a responsible company. We stick to an agreement and we see ourselves as 100 percent responsible to repair any construction-linked damage to drain tiles, irrigation system, roads or other buried utilities, or other damages that we may cause.
It is also important to understand that, in the unlikely event of an incident, TransCanada will be fully responsible to restore the site to its previous condition.
We always do our best to restore land in areas where we work along the pipeline route and return it as close as possible to pre-construction conditions. If it is a farm, we’ll ensure the land’s agricultural and biological diversity is reclaimed through measures such as conserving topsoil resources, replanting with appropriate native grass and plant species and re-establishing stable historical drainage patterns.
Here’s an example of land during and after construction, from another one of our pipeline projects:
To find out more on our commitment to landowners, visit the section dedicated to this on our Energy East website.