Svend Robinson has only been back in politics for a couple of weeks, and he’s already busy staking out a position on one of the most divisive issues in the riding where he hopes to win this fall.
On Sunday, the former NDP MP from Burnaby told Global News that there needs to be an upgrade of firefighting infrastructure in the neighbourhoods on Burnaby Mountain near the Trans Mountain Pipeline storage tank farm.
“This is a huge wake-up call, there’s no question about it,” Robinson said about news from the Burnaby Fire Department that it had discovered low water pressure in the area when crews responded to a structure fire on a property adjacent to the tank farm on Jan. 20.
No one was injured in the fire, and because of wet conditions the blaze posed no threat to the tank farm, but firefighters said they had to use several trucks to “relay pump” water in order to have adequate pressure to fight the flames.
Robinson said having adequate infrastructure to fight a major fire near the tank farm should be the responsibility of the facility’s owners — which, in this case, is now the Canada Development Investment Corporation after Ottawa’s controversial purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Kinder Morgan last year.
“This fire could have been a disaster in this community,” Robinson said.
“If there had been a bit more wind, if it had been drier, it could have spread to the tanks.”
In an email, Trans Mountain said it maintains its own fire water system at the Burnaby Terminal with “adequate reserve to respond to a fire on our site.”
It says it also employs an early fire detection system and a deployable sprinkler system designed to prevent the encroachment of wildfires.
However, the company says it is willing to work with Burnaby on fire safety at the site.
“We welcome the opportunity to engage with the City of Burnaby and further augment resources, as we believe the best response will be provided through a co-operative and co-ordinated approach to planning, practice and response,” said the company.
“We continue to invite the city to engage with us, but to date, they have been unwilling to participate. We welcome the opportunity to engage with the Burnaby Fire Department to address any concerns they have.”