Pipeline opposition growing in Burnaby: city survey

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Oil spills cited as number 1 reason resident oppose the project

Burnaby residents are backing the city’s opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline in growing numbers, according to a new online survey commissioned by city hall.

The city first surveyed residents in June and found 61 per cent of respondents (who had an opinion on the matter) were against to the pipeline expansion, but the latest numbers show that opposition has risen to 68 per cent.

“We want to be sure that we are understanding citizens’ ongoing and developing concerns about this project, providing them with all of the information we have available,” Mayor Derek Corrigan said in a news release Monday.

The city hired Insights West to conduct the second survey in September, and according to the results, more local residents are aware of key elements of the project. Those elements include the increased volume of oil shipments Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion would bring. People are also aware the “new” oil is destined for foreign markets and that Kinder Morgan is primarily shipping unrefined bitumen, a tar-like form of petroleum from the Alberta oil sands. Respondents also knew that Kinder Morgan had changed its routing preferences and that in Burnaby, 90 per cent of the route will not follow the existing pipeline’s path, which means the expansion project is more akin to a new pipeline than a twinning project.

Fewer respondents believe the expansion project will bring long-term jobs, something Kinder Morgan has been pitching as a benefit of the project. (That number went from 57 per cent in the first poll to 48 per cent in the most recent.)

Concern about oil spills was the number 1 reason people opposed the pipeline expansion. Two-thirds (68 per cent) of the respondents also indicated they agreed with the city’s oppositional stance on the expansion project.

The poll was based on a five-day online survey, where 506 adults responded. Insights West assumed the margins of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.