Burnaby ramping up pipeline opposition

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan spent Tuesday night rallying the troops at a town hall meeting for opponents of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

The meeting was held at Cameron Elementary with roughly 200 people in the audience, many of whom applied as intervenors in the National Energy Board hearing.

“We’ve decided as a city to stand up and fight, and fight we will,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan told the audience that the city, which has also applied for intervenor status, has hired lawyer Gregory McDade to prepare Burnaby’s case. According to Corrigan, McDade needs petitions and comments from Burnaby residents opposed to the pipeline, to help build his case.

“It’s up to you to go out and get those signatures, to ensure people are aware and they are prepared to stand up and make their position known to the National Energy Board,” Corrigan said. “We have the opportunity to show them how a community can come together to fight against multinational corporations imposing their will on average citizens.”

After the speech, Zeralynne Te, from the city’s planning department, gave a presentation on how Kinder Morgan’s plan has changed over time and what the impacts would be if the expansion were approved. Te also raised concerns about emergency response for residents if the city’s first responders are tied up with an oil spill.

“I can tell you, if there was a major accident in the Shellmont system, that would deplete all of the city’s resources,” she said referring to the oil storage tanks on Burnaby Mountain.

According to the presentation, areas that will be impacted by the expansion include Westridge, Forest Grove, Lake City and Lougheed Town Centre, as well as conservation areas around the Brunette River and Burnaby Mountain.

Dipak Dattani, from the city’s engineering department, raised concerns that Kinder Morgan overlooked the storm drain system when drafting maps. (Crude oil escaped through sewer drains in the 2007 pipeline rupture in Burnaby’s Westridge neighbourhood.)

First Nations representatives also spoke, including Carleen Thomas from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Helesia Luke, assistant for MP Kennedy Stewart, told the crowd that her office would continue to help hearing applicants.

Ben West from ForestEthics said he felt “as strongly as ever before” that the pipeline would not be built, and that the fight could make B.C.’s War in the Woods look like a cakewalk. He also raised the possibility of First Nations’ legal action, which could interfere with the project.

“This may be the trump card to stop these projects from going forward,” West said.

Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion and ForestEthics organized the meeting, and ad hoc residents’ groups from the North Shore and the Fraser Valley also attended.

The city’s pipeline presentation should be posted online by the end of this week; go to www.burnaby.ca for more information.

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