VANCOUVER – The City of Burnaby says on Tuesday morning workers from Kinder Morgan arrived in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area with chainsaws and tree-cutting equipment and started marking trees for removal.
The company is conducting survey work for the pipeline they are proposing to build between Alberta and Burnaby.
However, the city has now directed Kinder Morgan to stop work in this area.
“I think it’s unfortunate that it has come to this,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan in a press 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.”
“These bylaws represent the rights and values of our citizens and local residents. It’s astonishing that, as a private corporation, Kinder Morgan thinks they have the right to override our citizens’ wishes and the laws that have been put in place to reflect the value our citizens place on these sensitive, irreplaceable ecosystems.”
A few weeks ago the National Energy Board ruled that Kinder Morgan can proceed with necessary studies of its preferred pipeline route through the mountain without the city’s consent.
“There is no requirement … for companies to reach agreement with landowners, the Crown, or otherwise, before exercising the right to access land,” the board stated.
But Corrigan said in a press release that what the workers arrived to do Tuesday morning was not just surveying the land.
“As we’ve said before, there is nothing in Section 73 of the National Energy Board Act – which Kinder Morgan is aggressively asserting gives them the right to do this damage – that does, in fact, allow them do it,” said Corrigan.
“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. That’s not enabled by Section 73 and it’s absolutely not permitted by our bylaws.”
Kinder Morgan has not yet responded to the stop-work order.
“Kinder Morgan has not only damaged the Conservation Area in contravention of the law, they have also attempted to interfere with traffic on public roads and to obstruct park staff in their duties,” said City of Burnaby legal counsel, Greg McDade. “The actions of the company are unprecedented, and they appear to believe they can act as if the rule of law doesn’t apply to them. Burnaby will seek a court ruling that protects its laws and its parkland.”
The City of Burnaby states it will continue to enforce its bylaws to ensuring ongoing protection of the Burnaby Mountain conservation lands.
- With files from The Canadian Press
© Shaw Media, 2014