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Jet fuel pipeline plan put on hold

An artist
An artist's rendering of a jet fuel receiving facility, a proposal that has been shelved for four months.
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The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office has suspended a review of a controversial jet fuel pipeline at the request of the project's director.

The review was shelved Thursday for up to 120 days to allow the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation to explore an alternate route for the 15-kilometre pipeline.

“The city said we should look at Highway 99 as a potential route for the pipeline and we are listening," said project director Adrian Pollard in a statement. "We are planning to meet next month with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to explore this option. It is still very early days though."

The VAFFC, a consortium of airlines, had planned to use the No. 5 Road and Shell Road corridors to link a new Riverport marine terminal with the airport.

Pollard made the request for a four-month break Tuesday, a day after some residents announced they had formed a citizens' group to oppose the plan.

The Vancouver Airport Pipeline Opposition for Richmond group, or VAPOR, called on provincial officials to scrap the plan, saying it puts the environment, Fraser River and health of residents at risk.

"We're looking for you, the community, to join VAPOR in our fight against the VAFFC and stop this extremely irresponsible and hazardous plan and put pressure on all levels of government to do the right thing and deny this application," said spokesperson Carol Day earlier this week.

Highway 99 is the city's preferred route for a jet fuel pipeline, according to comments submitted to the Environmental Assessment Office last month. The city also said the route should not front any residential properties.

But city council has since passed a resolution saying it would rather see the existing pipeline upgraded—if necessary—or that jet fuel be barged directly to Sea Island.

B.C. government ministers were expected to make a decision on the proposal by fall following an environmental review that was not expected to exceed six months.

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