Crews from Kinder Morgan began leaving Burnaby Mountain today, with the company saying they won’t be finish testing on their second drilling site and clear out of the area by the Dec. 1 injunction deadline.
“We got done what we needed to get done. We would have liked to finish our other study, but we believe we got what we needed to meet the filing requirements,” says Ali Hounsell, a spokesperson for the Trans Mountain project.
Hounsell says that Kinder Morgan is confident that the research they were able to do on the first drilling site will meet the National Energy Board requirements.
Kinder Morgan had requested an extension to their injunction that barred protesters from entering a site where they were drilling holes to obtain soil samples. The company is applying to expand their Trans Mountain pipeline, and have proposed their new route go through a two-kilometre strip of Burnaby Mountain rather than residential areas.
But Kinder Morgan had their extension request denied and have decided against trying to continue the work without an injunction in place. They’ve faced daily protests in the past week while testing was ongoing, along with strong opposition from aboriginal groups and local politicians.
“They should be pretty darn worried,” says SFU professor Stephen Collis, one of the main organizers of the protesters this week.
“If this is the resistance they got to simply testing and making a proposal, what would happen if they actually tried to build a pipeline?”
More than 100 people were arrested by the RCMP since the injunction began, but most were thrown out by a judge yesterday because the GPS coordinates Kinder Morgan originally provided for the injunction were incorrect.
Policing costs exceeded $100,000 per day, but Hounsell says Kinder Morgan hasn’t been asked to pay for any of the costs yet. For their part, Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt. Maj. John Buis says he was generally happy with the relationship between protesters and police.
“Our plan was to make sure that the protesters were able to get their message across and we were able to facilitate that, and also make sure nobody got hurt,” he said.
Collis, who said that a few protesters will still be charged, including those who broke the injunction twice, agreed.
“I know there were conflicts, the units here are trained to deal with mass situations and riots, people can be amped up pretty easily…but on the whole, the relationship was pretty good,” he said, adding that previously scheduled rallies on Burnaby Mountain this weekend would go ahead as planned.
Another thing both sides could agree on was the need to go to the top of the mountain and visit Horizons Restaurant, which has been closed for eight days.
Hounsell says Kinder Morgan will compensate the restaurant as well.