Pipeline construction may start later this year

Published 11:57 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017

JACKSON – A variety of local businesses and elected officials were represented at the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting on June 15. The event held in the evening at Jackson’s Cultural and Wellness Center included dinner, awards, entertainment, and a guest speaker.

After a welcome from Chamber President Sidney Joyner and Director Judy Collier, the usual business of electing board members and officers was taken care of. Lokie Majette, a town commissioner of Conway, was nominated and elected to the board.

“I want to thank my board for the work they do,” said Collier as she recognized the members.

Robert Wilkins was named as an honorary board member.

Collier also recognized a few businesses that had recently joined the Chamber: In the Garden (Jackson), Du Dobb’s Restaurant (Rich Square), and Valley Pine Country Club (Lasker).

The Small Business of the Year award went to Rich Square Market.

“We appreciate your support,” Collier said as owner Frank Timberlake accepted the award.

Roanoke Valley Savings Bank received the Corporate Business of the Year award, and Jim Gossip accepted on their behalf.

“They have been a Chamber member since day one,” Collier explained, mentioning that the county’s organization was created back in 1995.

After Brenda Balmer serenaded the crowd with a few songs, Sidney Joyner introduced the guest speaker for the evening.

Rosemary Wyche, a Field Director working with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, addressed the crowd to give an update for the development’s progress.

The pipeline is a 600 mile project spanning from West Virginia down to North Carolina. Described by Wyche as a sort of “interstate” pipeline, its route will roughly follow Interstate 95 as it goes through the state.

The project, which began the surveying process in May 2014, is a collaborative effort between Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and AGL Resources.

Wyche explained the different ways the pipeline will benefit Northampton County. A compressor station and regional office will be built just east of Pleasant Hill near Highway 301 right by the Virginia border. This will create about 22 new jobs. The county is estimated to receive about $1.6 million per year in tax revenue from the pipeline once it is in service.

She also explained that having a major pipeline running through this part of the state will be a good incentive for businesses to move into the area in the future, boosting economic development.

“This is something that can bring in opportunity,” Wyche said.

Wyche also explained how the pipeline will be maintained and what landowners needed to know. The pipeline will be monitored 24/7 and will have shutoff valves approximately every 10 to 20 miles. Farmers will still be able to farm over top of the pipe, which will be buried four feet down, but trees cannot be planted over the pipeline. Markers will be in place to identify where the pipeline runs.

“Always make sure you call before you dig,” Wyche cautioned.

When asked about the timeframe of the project, Wyche said that they plan to have certification by October, and then construction will start almost immediately afterwards. They expect to be in service by 2019.

Once Wyche concluded her presentation, Judy Collier returned to the stage to give away a few door prizes and express her gratitude once again to the county’s Chamber of Commerce and everyone who works together with it.

“Thank you for your support,” she said.