Enbridge Gas provides safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to more than 3.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers across Ontario. In order to reinforce the natural gas supply in Dufferin County and accommodate growth in the area, Enbridge Gas is proposing the Dundalk Reinforcement Project in the Town of Mono. The project involves the construction of an Extra-High-Pressure (XHP) steel natural gas pipeline, located within a road right-of-way. For the project to proceed, a Leave-to-Construct application and approval from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is required. The OEB is Ontario’s independent regulator of the electricity and natural gas sectors that protects consumers and makes decisions that serve the public interest.
One of the key steps in the study for the Dundalk Reinforcement Project is consulting with the public, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders to understand interests and potential impacts. To facilitate broader public involvement and reach more members of the community, Enbridge Gas wanted to encourage public participation through two online Virtual Information Sessions that remained open for 15 days, with the specific goals to:
- Inform landowners, Indigenous communities, municipalities, stakeholders, and regulatory authorities about the Dundalk Reinforcement Project and gather feedback on the Route Alternatives and eventually, the Preferred Route.
- Give everyone the chance to provide input for the Project’s Environmental Report, which will be included in the application to the Ontario Energy Board.
- Provide an opportunity to identify any unknown project constraints and review draft plans to mitigate impacts on the local community and the environment.
- Create a space for the community to ask questions and/or provide comments.
Traditionally, this type of online engagement is burdensome to set up and requires building a custom website that involves several stages, including hiring web developers, upfront planning, and dealing with continual back-and-forth feedback loops. The iterative nature of this approach can lead to delays, increased costs, and limits post-launch flexibility for easily making updates or edits.
To remove unnecessary complexity, Enbridge Gas utilized Digital AECOM’s PlanEngage platform to streamline virtual information sharing and strengthen engagement. With collaborative content creation and editing tools, the project team was able to build a comprehensive and visually engaging branded website for the Dundalk Reinforcement Project without requiring web development or needing any HTML skills. The intuitive mapping capabilities in PlanEngage enabled Enbridge Gas to present pipeline routing options with dynamic GIS data that automatically syncs to text information, creating clarity and facilitating more informed decision-making for community members when evaluating options and selecting a preferred route. Finally, all public participants were able to respond to a customized survey and enter comments directly in the PlanEngage platform, enabling the project team to easily respond to questions and analyze community feedback
Thanks to the quick set up and intuitive tools in PlanEngage, Enbridge Gas was able to meet a very rigid deadline, while still upholding environmental and community engagement standards by building a virtual engagement platform in less than half the time as compared to the traditional method of working with web developers.