City to counter Kinder Morgan letter to Westridge residents

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Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan will write a letter to Westridge residents to counter one sent out by Kinder Morgan.

The company’s Sept. 25 letter suggests that if it can’t route its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion through Burnaby Mountain via a tunnel, it will have to go through the Westridge neighbourhood.

Burnaby city hall is opposed to the project and issued stop work orders on the company last month when it took down trees and disrupted traffic, violating city bylaws, as part of its survey and geotechnical work for the proposed tunnel in Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.

The National Energy Board (NEB) extended the review process by seven months to allow for more scrutiny on the tunnel option, and study results were expected to be completed by December.

Kinder Morgan applied to the NEB for an order forcing the city to allow the work to go ahead. But before it can do that, the NEB ruled it first must address the constitutional issue of whether it has the power to override city bylaws.

The NEB will hold a hearing Oct. 9 in Calgary, starting at 8 a.m. Vancouver time, on the issue. The federal government and attorneys general from all the provinces have been notified to allow them to get involved. The hearing will be broadcast live over the Internet.

Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan’s letter is raising the ire of Burnaby council.

In it, the company says routing the pipeline through Burnaby Mountain would avoid private homes and minimize disruptions for the community.

“We are also very conscious that if we are unable to conduct these necessary studies soon, we may have to pursue our alternate route through city streets in the Westridge neighbourhood.”

Coun. Dan Johnston said at Monday’s council meeting that the letter was “pretty incorrect, to be truthful,” and motioned for the mayor to provide the city’s perspective to the residents.

Corrigan said the letter tries to pin the blame on city hall for what Kinder Morgan is doing.

“I can tell you we did not go looking for problems with Kinder Morgan, they brought the problems to our municipality.”

The City of Burnaby has opposed the proposal wherever it is going to go, Corrigan noted. He said he has always believed the mountain would not be a viable option in any case.

Corrigan said the letter is an attempt to divide residents, between those who want to protect the conservation area and those wanting to protect their neighbourhood.

“I think they totally underestimate the people of Burnaby and the intelligence of the people who live in this community and the respect they have for each other and the city,” he said.

“They seem to think they can play their bullyboy tactics anywhere they want. It’s not going to work here.”