December 3, 2014 9:15 pm
Updated: December 3, 2014 9:19 pm

Kinder Morgan hoping to change Trans Mountain pipeline conversation

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WATCH (above): Kinder Morgan president answers questions about Burnaby Mountain pipeline: Part 1 

Kinder Morgan is hoping to change the change the conversation around their Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

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Following months of protests, and most recently a court injunction to remove protesters on Burnaby Mountain that resulted in numerous arrests, Kinder Morgan is holding a telephone town hall tonight.

The PR move is a result of how the protest and news swirled around and “occupied so much of people’s attentions for the past two weeks,” Ian Anderson, Kinder Morgan Canada president said today on Unfiltered with Jill Krop.

“It was very difficult for us to have meetings and discussions around that, so we’re trying to regain some ground.”

Asked if he was surprised by the protest and the numbers who showed up and Anderson said, no. Instead what was shocking was what he called people’s “willingness to disobey the injunction and put themselves up for arrest.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nations leader arrested at Kinder Morgan protest site

Also the diversity of the crowd, which included according to Anderson, “hardcore protesters, local interest groups and residents in the community,” that made it difficult for Kinder Morgan to have a conversation and plan appropriate action.

“We tried to remain calm and not be heavy-handed,” Anderson said.

But five protestors, who were arrested and are being sued for $5 million, may see it differently.

Anderson called the lawsuit an “unfortunate part of the process” but says it was necessary to get the work done safely.

“To get the injunction we needed to work safely. There had to be some claim of material harm,” he said.

“We had to establish individuals who had the potential to cause disruption to the process. It was a necessary step we had to go through.”

While it was a step Anderson claimed they needed to go through, he also said they have no intention of pursing the suits and “in due course we’ll have them extinguished because we have our work done now.”

WATCH: 84-year-old woman becomes 84th protester to be arrested on Burnaby Mountain

The survey work may be done but for the City of Burnaby’s Mayor Derek Corrigan, there’s still a matter of the bill for the Burnaby Mountain policing costs.

“I want [Kinder Morgan] to pay,” Corrigan said in an earlier interview.

“We told them not to go on to the mountain, we told them to obey our bylaws, we were overruled by the National Energy Board, so they can’t possibly say in any way this was our fault or responsibility.”

But for Anderson, the police officers were necessary to enforce the legal injunction for “legally authorized work.”

“The police were there to protect us against unlawful protestors. Policing is a municipal responsibility and I think it remains a municipal responsibility,” Anderson said.

Hashing out the details may be difficult for Kinder Morgan and the city considering the two parties haven’t spoken in two years.

“We continue to reach out to the City of Burnaby on all levels and we haven’t had the ability to talk to them in two years,” Anderson said.

“The work on Burnaby Mountain could have been carried out much more safely and planned, organized and coordinated if we’d had access to city staff whose job it is to impart protection of the conversation area, which we respect.”

Corrigan does not agree. In an earlier interview Corrigan said their staff does returns their calls.

“I think Kinder Morgan’s playing the poor me with regards to their activities,” he said.

“I find it quite surprising; I don’t know many people that are going to feel sorry for a multinational corporation that’s exerting its influence on a local government.”

Anderson knows his views differ from the mayor’s but he says this is the first time he’s received this amount of political resistance from a municipality.

Regardless of the political pushback, Anderson said the recent work shows the proposed pipeline route through Burnaby Mountain is feasible and it is Kinder Morgan’s preferred route.

“Going through Burnaby Mountain takes [the pipeline] out of the public right of ways, so the ability for a third party to hit the pipeline or strike it is eliminated,” he said.

As for the environmental concerns around spills or leaks, he said the new pipe will be in a secure tunnel that will be 150 to 160 metres below the surface and “well away from the conservation area.”

Tonight’s telephone town hall registration was open to anyone until noon today, and in addition to the people who signed up via Kinder Morgan’s website, the company will also be calling every public landline in Burnaby.

WATCH (below): After weeks of conflict on Burnaby Mountain, Kinder Morgan Canada President Ian Anderson joined Jill to talk pipelines protests, and people’s perception of his company’s work.

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