Pipeline safety plans are long overdue [and Tax Payers will foot the bill]

On the one hand, this is good news. On the other hand, we wonder why it has taken so long to initiate a safety plan for schools near, or built on, pipelines.

When a pipeline was ruptured during construction in 2007 in the Westridge neighbourhood, spewing thousands of litres of black oil on homes, gardens and streets, one would have thought that might have got folks thinking. Officials might have considered updating all pipeline maps and checking to see if any of the pipelines could pose a safety risk to those in senior care facilities, daycares and, of course, schools.

Given that we are in an earthquake zone, and experts believe we may see a large quake in our lifetime, it seems prudent that the city and school district know exactly what to do if a pipeline ruptures or breaks. And, of course, residents should know if there is a pipeline running through their neighbourhoods. After all, some of these pipelines have been underground for several decades.

In 2013, residents [Ed Note. In fact, it was the Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan that raised the issue with the Minister and worked with the Burnaby Teacher’s Association to bring this to public attention. Without the work of BROKE, the BTA, and the BC Federation of Teachers, nothing would have ever been done.] opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion called on the education minister to come up with safety plans for schools situated near or on the pipeline.

As Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline expansion application moves forward, it’s clear that many city residents weren’t even aware that a pipeline ran through or by their neighbourhood or their children’s school.

Currently, only Stoney Creek and Forest Grove schools have a pipeline near them. But if the new pipeline expansion plan is approved, five more schools may have pipelines running by them. Those schools are Seaforth, Cameron, Westridge, Lochdale, Montecito and Burnaby Mountain Secondary. By then, we hope, there’ll be thorough safety plans for all.

© Burnaby Now

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