Trans Canada says its proposed oil pipeline will not go under Trout Lake, but North Bay Mayor Al McDonald disagrees. Trans Canada wants to convert an existing pipeline from natural gas to oil to get unrefined oil to Eastern Canada.
And company spokesman Stefan Baranski emphasizes this is nothing more than a conversion project. Baranski says the line has never gone under Trout Lake nor is it proposed to go under the lake during the conversion.
He says over the past couple of years Trans Canada has met with numerous officials and groups on this matter including the North Bay – Mattawa Conservation Authority and Mayor Al McDonald in an effort to set the record straight. But contrary to the Trans Canada claim, McDonald says the existing gas pipeline actually goes under Trout Lake at the narrows.
Although the narrows don`t fall within the city`s boundaries, McDonald says they are still part of Trout and a leak there is bad news. He says a leak at that point might not affect North Bay`s drinking water but it would make its way downstream to Talon Lake and Mattawa.
McDonald also disagrees that the closest the pipeline comes to Trout Lake is four to six kilometres as Baranski said at a recent North Bay chamber of commerce meeting. He says the existing pipeline is about one kilometre from Camp Island which sits in Trout Lake.
McDonald agrees part of the line is very far north of the lake, but even here it intersects 13 waterways that flow into Trout and he says that`s a concern. He says some of the tributaries are a major worry because they go into Delaney Bay and although the concern isn`t as great with several of the other smaller waterways, McDonald says there`s still a risk there.