Mayor will reject Kinder Morgan’s land request

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Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan has vowed to push back on Kinder Morgan’s attempts to survey Burnaby Mountain for a pipeline route. Meanwhile, the oil company is planning to ask the National Energy Board to go over the city’s head.

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said the company would seek the National Energy Board’s help accessing the land if Burnaby refuses to co-operate.

“We would prefer to have the city’s permission to access the city’s lands in order to work, and we will be formally requesting that soon. If it is not provided, then we will go the National Energy Board and seek a ruling of the board to have the authority to instruct the city to grant us access to those lands,” he said in a conference call with media on Friday. Anderson indicated the company would apply to the city and the NEB concurrently, and he expected the process would take weeks, not months.

The city, which is staunchly opposed to the pipeline expansion, rejected the company’s informal query to drill holes on the mountain, which is a dedicated park and conservation area.
According to Corrigan, consultants (who did not initially identify themselves as affiliates of Kinder Morgan) asked city staff if they could drill holes in the park.

“Staff treated it as anyone coming in and making an inquiry. We said, ‘Well, it’s not likely we’re going to give you approval to start digging up a park,’ and that was the limit of the discussion,” Corrigan said. Afterwards, city staff confirmed the consultants were working with Kinder Morgan, he added.

The relationship between the two parties has soured, and Anderson said Burnaby has broken off contact.

“Since we filed our application in December, virtually all communication with Burnaby has been terminated by them,” Anderson said.

Corrigan said he wants Kinder Morgan to get on with it, put a formal application in so the city can reject it, and then he will deal with the National Energy Board.

“Get your formal refusal, and get on with your National Energy Board application,” he said. “But if the National Energy Board is going to order us to do that, then do so, and we’ll comply to the National Energy Board order, … but we want a chance to go in and argue before the National Energy Board why they shouldn’t grant that order.”

On Tuesday, the board announced the pipeline hearing would be delayed by seven months, because the board needed more information on the Burnaby Mountain route. The new line was originally supposed to run through Burnaby’s Westridge neighbourhood, but that plan was dropped because of opposition from local residents. Kinder Morgan changed the preferred route to Burnaby Mountain in April, roughly four months after filing the project application with the NEB.

Now, the company wants to either drill or tunnel through the mountain to connect the tank farm to the Westridge Marine Terminal, where tankers fill up with crude. The tunneling option is more expensive but would also allow Kinder Morgan to move the existing pipeline out of Westridge and run it through the mountain instead.

Corrigan also expressed concern about the new plan.

“Tunnelling is not good. It has a lot of issues,” he said. “The initial assessment we’ve got is the mountain is not particularly stable. It may not be seismically safe. … You can imagine if that oil starts spilling through the mountain internally. That’s a problem that will takes a thousand years to fix.”

© Burnaby Now