Small town mayors hope Trans Mountain approval brings back the economic boom
A pair of small town mayors along the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline route hope the federal government’s approval of the project will bring back some prosperity to the region.
The town of Edson, Alta., about 200 kilometres west of Edmonton, has just 8,400 people, but during the boom days of the oil industry, workers filled the town’s 1,400 hotel rooms. Now, the streets are eerily quiet while thousands of giant green pipes are stockpiled nearby.
For Edson Mayor Kevin Zahara, Tuesday’s announcement by the federal government to once again give the green light for the Trans Mountain pipeline construction is a cause for celebration.
“It's kind of like a dark cloud's been hovering over our community,” he told CTV News. “We're very excited to see this project move forward.”
Paul Lemieux, owner of the heavy equipment rental company Edson Mountainside Sales and Rentals, said he expects the pipeline construction to once again fill Edson’s hotel rooms.
“It would bring a lot of people into town,” he said. “I don't know how long they think it's going to take to build the pipeline, but for that interim part, it would be awesome for the town.”
More than 800 kilometres away in Hope, B.C., support for the pipeline is also positive, despite opposition from the provincial government.
"The expansion will, of course, inject a lot more income into the community," said Hope Mayor Peter Robb.
“A lot of our businesses in town will benefit from it. In fact, the province will benefit from it right now, especially with the shutdown of a lot of the mills and forestry sector.”