Kinder Morgan and city on collision course

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“What they need is a clear line, a path about a metre wide to be able to lay that line out so that they can set geophones down and set a charge and then do the readings,” Trans Mountain project lead Carey Johannesson told the NOW.

Johannesson was at Eastlake Park Wednesday for a media event and the launch of lower impact environmental surveys along Stoney Creek.

The city opposes the pipeline project and has denied the company an encroachment permit for the work, but the National Energy Board (NEB) ruled last week that federal legislation gives pipeline companies like Kinder Morgan the power to enter and conduct surveys and tests on any Crown or private land [Emphasis added] that lies on their intended pipeline routes.

According to Johannesson, that means his company has the green light to conduct all the studies it needs to seek NEB approval for its proposed expansion, which would see a section of the pipeline run through the western corner of Burnaby Mountain.

“If Burnaby wants to pursue that and take it further, I’m assuming that what they’ll need to do is do a stop-work order, and then we’ll have to take it from there,” Johannesson said.

The city intends to do just that, according to Mayor Derek Corrigan, but only once the company starts breaking city bylaws.

“It’s not them walking through the park,” Corrigan said. “Everyone’s allowed to walk through the park. It’s if they start cutting down trees, if they start interfering with wildlife, if they start clearing areas for helicopter landing pads, if they start doing those things, the city will be engaged.”

Corrigan argued the NEB’s ruling may have given Kinder Morgan access to the land for low-impact studies, but it did not overrule the city’s power to enforce its bylaws.

As such, Corrigan said city staff will be at the mountain in the coming days making sure no bylaws are broken.

“If there is any infractions of our bylaws, then staff will be issuing an order to stop,” he said. “We’re going to be enforcing the bylaws until the national energy board says they want to overrule our bylaws, and if they say that, then we are in the courts.”

Johannesson said Kinder Morgan would stop its geotechnical studies if the city issued a stop-work order, but the company wouldn’t be headed back to the National Energy Board.

“The board’s already been very clear in their ruling that we have the ability to be able to go on any land, including Burnaby’s land, to be able to do the surveys we need to do to be able to get the information the board requires. I mean, that’s pretty clear,” he said.

Johannesson said the company would likely look to the courts instead to get authorization to continue work on the project.

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