Cutline: SFU English professor Stephen Collis says residents are planning to take turns keeping watch on Burnaby Mountain, and if Kinder Morgan returns to continue survey work, they will stop the company with their bodies. Photograph By Jennifer Moreau/BURNABY NOW
Burnaby residents and anti-pipeline activists plan to block Kinder Morgan’s survey work in the Burnaby Mountain conservation area, following a Wednesday morning B.C. Supreme Court decision that rejected the city’s request for an injunction to stop the company.
Kinder Morgan wants to run a new pipeline, which the city opposes, through the city-owned conservation area but must conduct survey work to see if the route is even feasible.
“People are getting organized, so if push comes to shove, as they say, if Kinder Morgan comes in, we are going to try to be in their way and make their work very difficult,” said SFU English professor Stephen Collis. “I think there will be a lot of people taking this into their own hands.”
Alan Dutton, a member of Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, said the group is working with lawyers and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association to host workshops on people’s rights if they engage in civil disobedience. BROKE also plans on engaging the public to develop long-term strategies to stop the pipeline, Dutton added.
“It’s a responsibility of people in Burnaby to make sure their land is protected,” Dutton said.
Mayor Derek Corrigan issued a statement Monday morning, suggesting the battle is not over despite the court’s decision.
“It’s not the end of anything. It’s another step in what we’ve always known will be a long fight to protect our conservation lands – and all of our land in the city – from further destruction by Kinder Morgan,” Corrigan said.
Madam Justice Brenda Brown issued her ruling Wednesday morning, but she won’t release her reasons until next week. Corrigan said the city is considering whether to appeal and will look to the National Energy Board to stop Kinder Morgan’s work.
“We strongly feel that the decision as to whether or not Kinder Morgan must respect our bylaws is one that should be made by the Supreme Court,” Corrigan added.
Kinder Morgan left the mountain on Sept. 3, after the city issued a stop work order and tickets for cutting trees in the park, which violates a local bylaw, even though the NEB has sanctioned the company’s survey work.
There are two legal proceedings underway: the city’s application to the B.C. Supreme Court for a temporary and permanent injunction against the pipeline work, and Kinder Morgan’s request for an order from the National Energy Board that would force the city to let the work continue.
The legal conflict underscores an important question: Does the federal government have the right to supersede municipal bylaws?
Kinder Morgan issued a brief statement following Wednesday’s ruling.
“We’re satisfied with today’s decision from the B.C. Supreme Court denying the City of Burnaby’s application for an injunction,” said Kinder Morgan’s Carey Johannesson. “We maintain that the National Energy Board has jurisdiction in this matter and has given us the authority to undertake the work needed on Burnaby Mountain. We will await the NEB’s response to our motion filed on Sept. 3 before resumption of work.”
Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart also issued a statement, saying the company does not have community support to run the pipeline through the city’s conservation area.
“The worst thing Kinder Morgan could do right now is to resume work on Burnaby Mountain,” Stewart said. “This would inflame residents and provoke unnecessary conflict. I call on the company to wait for the full text of the Supreme Court’s decision to be released next week and, in a separate process, the National Energy Board’s ruling, before taking further action.”
Meanwhile, local residents and members of BROKE and a North Shore residents’ group against the pipeline are taking turns keeping watch over the conservation area.
© Burnaby Now
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