Burnaby teachers raising pipeline concerns

The Burnaby Teachers’ Association is raising concerns that the new Kinder Morgan oil pipeline will run close to even more local schools.

The teachers’ association is opposed to the pipeline expansion and has joined a growing number of applicants hoping to intervene in the National Energy Board’s upcoming hearing for the project.

“The concern is if there is a pipeline rupture ­– and it’s inevitable there will be, we just don’t know how bad it’s going to be – our members, as far as we know, haven’t received any training on how to deal with a pipeline leak,” said Patrick Parkes, the association’s first vice-president. “A pipeline leak is pretty different from an earthquake or a fire. I don’t know what you can do to adequately protect staff and students from airborne issues.”

The current pipeline, which has been transporting oil from Alberta to Burnaby since the 1950s, already runs along two elementary school properties: Forest Grove and Stoney Creek.

The association is also raising concerns that the proposed pipeline expansion would run close to Westridge Elementary (which is already close to the old pipeline), Lochdale, Montecito, Seaforth, Cameron and Burnaby Mountain Secondary.

Kinder Morgan wants to twin the line but use a new route in Burnaby, where development and density have increased over the years.

The proposed new pipeline corridor runs down Lougheed Highway, from North Road at the Coquitlam border, and turns north close to Underhill Avenue, crossing an area close to the Kinder Morgan tank farm on Burnaby Mountain. The corridor then runs down Burnaby Mountain Parkway to a short stretch of Hastings Street, and then north down Cliff Avenue to the Westridge Marine Terminal, where tankers fill up with crude.

The school district recently released detailed pipeline maps and new safety and evacuation plans for the affected schools, and the teachers’ association is reviewing the information.

The association is also hosting a public meeting for parents who have concerns. The meeting will be on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 4 p.m. at #115, 3993 Henning Dr. To attend, RSVP by emailing in bta@bctf.ca.

Note: This online article was changed on Thursday, Jan. 30 to include Seaforth and Cameron schools, which were originally ommitted.

© Burnaby Now

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