🏗️ Pipe dream

Trans Mountain completed, Alberta's rail plans, last call for tickets

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Good morning! 🧱 A lone brick chimney still stands at a transit project site in Ontario. Can you guess why? While the house around it is gone, the shaft remains home to birds known as chimney swifts. The chimney will remain until a replacement bird home is built.

⏰ Today’s read: 5 minutes

market direction arrowTSX22,259.47
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market direction arrowDollar$0.73
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*Stock data as of last market close; currency, oil and crypto data as of 8 pm ET May 6th, 2024.

Economy: Weekend warriors are taking a break. Reports show a slowdown in home repair and remodeling projects has weakened lumber markets, the latest setback for Canadian sawmills struggling financially with depressed lumber prices. But that’s not the only culprit. Lower-than-expected housing starts in Canada and the United States have also trimmed lumber demand.


TMX expansion: Pipe dream becomes reality

12 years after it was first proposed, operations have begun for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. The pipeline faced seemingly insurmountable challenges but managed to make it across the finish line. For the first time in many years, there is spare pipeline capacity out of the Alberta oil sands. 

Resurrected: After years of review and legal battles, the Canadian government approved the expansion project for a second time in 2019. To keep the project alive, the government purchased the pipeline from Kinder Morgan in 2018 for $4.7 billion, creating the Crown corporation Trans Mountain Corporation to oversee the expansion. In the end, it cost roughly $34 billion to build.

The work: Crews completed 988 km of new pipeline, 193 km of reactivated pipeline, 12 new pump stations, 19 new storage tanks, and three new berths at Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby.

National impact: Total capital investment is estimated to have contributed $26.3 billion in GDP, 67,423 person-year full-time equivalent jobs, and $2.9 billion in taxes to the Canadian economy during its construction from 2018 to 2023. The project also provided training to over 13,000 individuals and invested in regional infrastructure.

Economic legacy: It’s estimated that between 2024 and 2043, the expanded Trans Mountain system will pay $3.7 billion in wages, generate $9.2 billion in GDP, and pay $2.8 billion in government taxes. Zooming out, the additional pipeline capacity is set to boost crude prices, lift national gross domestic product and expand access to Asian oil markets.

What’s next: Officials say the goal has always been to sell the pipeline, but for now, the government can collect billions in tolls, taxes and royalties, and the value of Canadian oil is set to rise. While the cost was high and the journey was rocky, it could create prosperity for years to come. 


The week's headlines

🚧 The Ontario government announced it is moving ahead to get shovels in the ground on Highway 413 after having reached an agreement with the federal government for the project to proceed with environmental protections. Early construction work contracts are expected in 2025.

🚄 Alberta is embarking on a journey to develop a Passenger Rail Master Plan that will assess the best path forward for building passenger rail services throughout the province. The vision includes a province-led “Metrolinx-like” Crown corporation with a mandate to develop the infrastructure and oversee daily operations.

💰 The federal government has announced its decision to withhold $357 million in funding designated for affordable housing from Ontario. Instead, this funding will be redirected to city service managers tasked with addressing the issue. This decision comes after Ottawa expressed dissatisfaction with the province's failure to commit to constructing nearly 20,000 housing units.

⚡ Stantec has been selected by BC Hydro to provide transmission and distribution engineering as well as project delivery services for electrical infrastructure modernization in the province.  The $186-million master services agreement is initially termed for seven years, with a potential total term of up to 20 years.


Last call for our Calgary event …

Ok, procrastinator. You’ve been thinking about joining us and Construction’s Most Influential People in Calgary, but it’s time to commit. We only have 15 tickets left. SiteNews and our friends at ICBA Alberta are planning an evening of drinks, food and networking to celebrate our latest awards program. You can meet some of the industry’s brightest stars and most prominent leaders. Click on the link below and use the code ICBACALGARY for 30% off tickets.

When: May 15th, 2024

Time: 5:30pm-9pm

Where: charbar, Simmons Building

Dress Code: Business Casual


Embrace your curves

Toronto has revealed the design of the Equinox Bridge, a suspended arch bridge that will connect downtown to emerging neighbourhoods. The design features a signature S-shape and a sculptural array of fanning cables. It came from a multi-disciplinary team, including UK-based firm WilkinsonEyre, local architect Zeidler Architecture and Indigenous consultants Two Row Architect.


False Creek affordable home plans take major step forward

13 highrises proposed for Mount Pleasant

Madison Group plans four 58- and 61-storey towers

Weyburn hospital construction reaches 30% completion

Remote Manitoba First Nation takes step towards building airport

🏗 That’s just a taste of what happened this week. Unlock our FULL project update list, Project Pulse, by referring this newsletter twice (make sure to use your unique link at the bottom of the newsletter.)

Congrats! You have access to our extended list of weekly project updates. Check it out here 👉 Project Pulse


WEBSITE: 💻 Industrial marketing firm SitePartners unveils its new brand

READ: 🏗️ How will Baltimore rebuild its fallen bridge

PHOTOS: 📸 The best construction photos of April

READ: 🏠 P.E.I in the market for modular housing builder

Q&A: 🎭 Can improv classes boost your communication?


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Here’s to a great rest of the week!