[UPDATED] B.C. Supreme Court grants Kinder Morgan injunction against protesters

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The B.C. Supreme Court has granted Kinder Morgan an injunction to stop protesters from blocking the company’s survey work in the Burnaby Mountain conservation area.

The decision was handed down via email Friday morning, and the injunction is effective, Monday, Nov. 17, at 4 p.m.
Stephen Collis, one of the SFU professors named in the company’s multimillion dollar civil suit, isn’t sure what will happen next.

“We have 72 hours to react,” he told the NOW. “People have a choice to get out of the way or defy the injunction order. And people will individually and collectively make decisions about that over the course of the weekend.”
Collis was disappointed with the news.

“Ultimately this is about protecting the land locally and protecting the climate, that’s why we don’t want fossil fuel pipelines,” he said.

Alan Dutton from Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion was not happy to hear the news.
“I feel terrible. I’m really disappointed. I thought our arguments were convincing,” he told the NOW.

Like Collis, Dutton was among the five protesters named in Kinder Morgan’s civil suit.

Speaking on behalf of BROKE, Dutton was recommending people respect the injunction.

“My initial feeling is people should obey the law. If there’s a decision to commit civil disobedience, that will be an individual decision,” he said, adding the group plans to meet Saturday to plan its next response.

“This is not the end of the struggle. This is just the beginning. It’s a new phase. We are moving to a higher level of struggle with Kinder Morgan,” Dutton said. “We are exploring new avenues, and we have a very good legal defense team.”

Scott Stoness, vice president of regulatory with Kinder Morgan Canada, said the company was happy with the court’s decision.

“We think it was the right decision, and we are pleased we can proceed with our work,” he told the NOW.
When asked what Kinder Morgan would do if some protesters do not respect the injunction, he said the company is considering that issue.

“Consistent with what BROKE is saying, we hope that parties follow the law. We think it’s possible people can protest and express themselves without interfering with our safe worksite,” Stoness said, adding that he hopes things don’t escalate.

Stoness pointed out that Kinder Morgan opted for the Burnaby Mountain route since it was considered less disruptive than the initial plan to twin the line through the Westridge neighbourhood. He also stated that, if the project is approved, the line will be hundreds of feet below ground and will not affect the use of the conservation area. When asked about concerns of a rupture or seismic stability, Stoness said the NEB has a process to ensure that risks are reasonable.

Stoness also said Kinder Morgan has no intention of pursuing the millions in damages in the civil suit, provided the company can complete its work.

Kinder Morgan has a Dec. 1 deadline to complete the survey work and submit the plans to the NEB, which extended the regulatory hearing, because the Burnaby Mountain route was not part of the original plans submitted in the initial application. Kinder Morgan changed the preferred route in North Burnaby after pushback from residents in the
Westridge area, where the current pipeline is located.

The remaining Burnaby Mountain survey work includes drilling two six-inch bore holes, approximately 250 metres in depth, and taking core samples at two locations, one on the side of Centennial Way, the other in the woods, just a short hike from Horizons Restaurant.

Chief Justice Austin Cullen noted in his decision that failure to grant the injunction would cause Kinder Morgan “irreparable harm” through substantial costs and potential loss of revenue.

“The harm although primarily economic, is thus nonetheless irreparable,” he stated.

Burnaby RCMP are reviewing the decision, but the injunction was granted as requested, and Kinder Morgan asked for an enforcement order, so police will likely be able arrest any protesters who disobey the order.

© Burnaby Now