VANCOUVER – Following the arrest of 26 anti-pipeline demonstrators on Thursday on Burnaby Mountain, workers for Kinder Morgan have started to perform geotechnical work.
Trans Mountain crews worked through the night to establish a safe work area and to remove protesters’ property from the work site. The items have now been handed over to the RCMP.
The test-hole equipment has been brought up to the site and workers have also set up lights and fencing. Police have also blocked vehicle traffic up to the anti-pipeline protest site and will remain on scene for the duration of Kinder Morgan’s work.
Drilling work has now started, which means two six-inch test holes, about 250 metres deep, will be drilled into the mountain. The work will take place 24 hours a day for 10 to 12 days.
One pipeline protester was taken away Friday morning and seven more were arrested after they made their way up to the Kinder Morgan drilling site. One of them was Simon Fraser University professor Lynne Quarmby, a defendant in the injunction ruling. Everyone who was arrested has been released.
Quarmby linked arms with supporters as she walked up the mountain and when she got to the top as they crossed the line, they were arrested.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the mountain, demonstrators stood in front of two Kinder Morgan trucks that were going up the mountain to carry out the survey work. At least two trucks turned back.
Supporters of the anti-pipeline demonstrators say they remain steadfast in their opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. Referring to the RCMP as “Kinder Morgan cops” in a press conference, a number of people spoke in support of those who were on the mountain on Thursday.
In a statement, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs say they will continue to stand in support with those on the mountain to uphold indigenous rights.
“I want to make sure that it’s clear to everyone that the reason we’re in this predicament, here on Burnaby Mountain, has to do with the Conservative Harper government and what they did at the end of 2012 in the omnibus bill that stripped environmental regulations out of our NEB Act,” says Quarmby.
“We’re here because the NEB Act is now a sham. The process is a sham. There’s no meaningful environmental regulation and there is no respect for the First Nations peoples.”
Centennial Way at Burnaby Mountain Parkway remains closed at this time.
In a press release Trans Mountain says they support “the right to peacefully protest and believes individuals can express their views in the lawful assembly area, which is near one of the work sites, while allowing our workers to continue working safely.”
Trans Mountain says if the project is approved there will be no surface disturbance on Burnaby Mountain because the tunnel, at its deepest point, will be about 160 metres below the surface.
On Nov. 14 Kinder Morgan was granted an injunction by the B.C. Supreme Court to remove protesters from the mountain. The company’s lawyer argued in court the activists prevented field studies to build the Trans Mountain pipeline in the area.
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