Kinder Morgan's complaints unfounded: Burnaby

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan -
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan
— image credit:

Kinder Morgan Canada wants to study a potential new route for its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. But Burnaby city hall has been less than cooperative in those efforts, complained company president Ian Anderson in recent media reports.

Mention that to Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan and you can almost hear him roll his eyes over the phone.

"I find it ironic that we keep hearing Goliath saying David isn't being nice to me."

Burnaby did cooperate and had more than 100 contacts with the company leading up to it filing its expansion application with the National Energy Board (NEB). But after looking into the proposal, city hall decided to formally oppose it.

But that's beside the point when it comes to the company's complaint to the NEB that Burnaby turned down its application to do geotechnical studies in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.

"That just wasn't true," Corrigan said. "They tried to get an application through by using a third party who didn't mention they work for Kinder Morgan. In that case, we certainly refused it.

"We have no reason to provide someone with the opportunity to go up boring in Burnaby Mountain. And so they withdrew and didn't make any application."

Kinder Morgan confirmed that was the case in a letter to the NEB clarifying the situation.

"Based on the City of Burnaby's staff response, BGC Engineering on behalf of Trans Mountain decided not to submit the formal application as it was clear the City would not grant permission to Trans Mountain to access the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area," wrote the company's Scott Stoness, vice-president, finance and regulatory.

First the company says their application is complete while Burnaby city hall says otherwise, then the company wants to do more studies and change the route, Corrigan said.

"Here is an example of the gang that couldn't shoot straight."

Corrigan stressed Burnaby's concern isn't ultimately about what neighbourhood the pipeline is going to travel through.

"In this community it's all about a big terminal that's going to bring supertankers in. And it's all about a massive expansion of a tank farm built on a mountain in a place that it shouldn't be … This has implications far beyond [where the pipeline will go]."

As for Anderson's suggestion "we're not being nice to him," Corrigan said, "of course we're not. We don't agree with what he's doing. We don't think he's being nice to us … If he was nice he would just stop doing this, it's costing a lot of money."

Meanwhile, the federal government has given its approval to Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, subject to it meeting more than 200 conditions.

But Corrigan doesn't think that will help Burnaby's cause against Kinder Morgan's proposal.

"I'm not hopeful [the decision] is going to make any difference whatsoever."

That would require a Trans Mountain proposal to no longer fit in the plans once Northern Gateway goes ahead.

"But there is no plan. The national government has no plan. Their only plan is to do what the lobbyists tell them to do," he said.

Canada needs to balance the export of oil against its future needs. But that's not being planned for either.

The only plan is on the part of the oil industry that wants to get as much oil out of the ground and to their markets as quickly as possible, Corrigan said.

"That will mean that everybody will make their money before we wake up and smell the coffee."

Trans Mountain officials did not respond to emailed messages requesting comment before the NewsLeader's deadline.

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