Burnaby issues stop work order to Kinder Morgan

Fisheries biologists take measurements and log flora and fauna in Stoney Creek at Eastlake Park as Kinder Morgan begins its surveying work for the Trans Mountain pipeline project on Wednesday. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Fisheries biologists take measurements and log flora and fauna in Stoney Creek at Eastlake Park as Kinder Morgan begins its surveying work for the Trans Mountain pipeline project on Wednesday.

The gloves are off as the City of Burnaby issued a stop work order Tuesday morning against Kinder Morgan during its surveying work in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.

A city official ordered crews to stop work after the pipeline company arrived with chainsaws and other tree-cutting equipment and began marking trees for removal, said a Burnaby city hall press release.

"I think it's unfortunate that it has come to this," said Mayor Derek Corrigan in the release, "but we can't let Kinder Morgan cut down trees and do irreparable damage in a conservation area protected by our City's bylaws."

The National Energy Board (NEB) recently confirmed that the NEB Act allows the company to carry out studies to help it determine a route for its proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline. And it can do so without the permission of landowners, even when the property belongs to a municipality like the City of Burnaby.

Burnaby opposes the project and its legal counsel, Greg McDade, has said despite the NEB ruling, city bylaws can not be violated.

"We were prepared to allow them to access this conservation land for non-invasive work that could be repaired over time, but absolutely not to do what they arrived this morning to do—to cut down trees to create helicopter landing pads and sites for drilling bore holes on this protected land," said Corrigan.

The company started work on Burnaby Mountain last week beginning with cutting down brush, said Lizette Parsons Bell, spokesperson for the Trans Mountain expansion project.

Crews were preparing to remove a rotten tree, marking out where it would fall, to ensure the safety of its workers, she said.

That's when Burnaby city officials issued the "orders to cease bylaw contraventions."

"The NEB confirmed we have the rights under Section 73 (of the NEB Act) to complete the work," Parsons Bell said.

The company will consult with its lawyers before deciding on its next moves.

In the meantime, its crews remained on Burnaby Mountain doing studies, which include watercourse and groundwater assessments, wildlife surveys and soil and archeological studies.

She noted that while the crews were on site, a large tree branch fell from a tree about 40 feet away from the workers, across Centennial Way.

"Nobody was hurt but it does indicate there's some issues with the vegetation in the area."

Parsons Bell stressed that despite the city's claims, the company is not seeking to build a helicopter landing pad in the area. In fact, she said, no helicopters will be landing there at all.

Rather, drilling equipment will be driven as close to the drill site as possible, to a proposed staging site located in an existing clearing. A helicopter would then fly in, the equipment would be attached to it with a lead and then lifted into place.

She said the helicopter would operate for about one day, a total of 60 to 90 minutes and for about 10 minutes at a time.

The proposed $5.4-billion pipeline twinning between Edmonton and Burnaby would nearly triple Trans Mountain's capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day and bring hundreds of additional oil tankers through Burrard Inlet each year.

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