Union Gas has as
ked the Ontario Energy Board for approval to build a $2.1-million pipeline project to supply natural gas to Ipperwash Beach in Lambton Shores, and the Chippewa of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.
It’s one of four projects included in an amended proposal filed Friday with the energy board, said Union Gas spokesperson Andrea Stass.
The proposal says Union Gas has forecast 364 of a potential 512 customers at Ipperwash Beach and the First Nation will be served by the project.
“We hope to get a decision as quickly as possible to help us begin construction this year,” Stass said.
“The target is to build in 2017, if we get approval.”
Union Gas has been working for several years on plans to extend natural gas to rural, Northern Ontario and indigenous communities, and the amended proposal filed Friday for the four projects would include a system expansion surcharge of 23 cents per cubic metre for the new customers, Stass said.
“That works out to be about $500 a year, if you look at the average consumption for a household,” she said.
Union Gas is proposing that the surcharge would be in place for 12 years, for the Ipperwash Beach and Kettle Point project.
The term of the surcharge depends on the “economics of each project” and whether or not municipalities apply a financial contribution, Stass said.
Under the amended proposal, municipalities and First Nations can volunteer to contribute the amount of property taxes the new pipeline will pay.
Municipalities may also apply for additional government funding to help with the cost of the new pipelines, but the proposal filed to the energy board doesn’t assume that will happen, Stass said.
Union Gas has conducted telephone surveys in the communities “and we feel that 23 cents a cubic metres is a cost they are willing to pay, based on those survey results,” Stass said.
Even with the surcharge, connecting to the new natural gas service is expected to result in a $1,100-a-year energy saving for households, compared to the cost of heating with electricity, she said.
Union Gas is proposing to build a pipeline that would start at the corner of Army Camp Road and Ravenswood Line and extend along Ipperwash Road to Highway 21.
From that point, one branch of the pipeline would continue along Ipperwash Road to East and West Parkway drives.
The second branch of the pipelines would go south on Highway 21 to the West Ipperwash Beach Road to serve the Kettle Point area.
In a letter supporting the project, Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber says it will “provide service to a small unserved pocket of our community in an area otherwise surrounded by Union Gas services.”
A letter by Thomas Bressette, chief of Kettle and Stony Point, says, “The project would provide value and opportunity for future expansions within our community, as well as for potential economic development.”
The amended proposal filed with the energy board also seeks permission for natural gas pipeline projects in Milverton, Moraviantown and Prince Township.
The four projects have a total estimated construction cost of $11.7 million, and are forecast to serve 1,400 new customers.
“We’re quite excited to actually be moving forward with some projects,” Stass said.
“We’re hopeful we get a decision and can move forward.”