The National Energy Board (NEB) has given the green light for construction to resume this year at two Burnaby, B.C., terminals linked to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
In a letter sent Thursday to Trans Mountain Canada, the NEB approved Trans Mountain’s request to resume work at the Westridge Marine Terminal and Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal.
Construction will also ramp up again on the Burnaby Mountain Tunnel that will connect the two terminals.
WATCH: (Aired June 2) Burnaby mayor takes pipeline safety concerns to the prime minister
A number of laydown sites for pipeline infrastructure and other equipment have also been approved to be built in Kamloops, Merritt, Hope and Abbotsford.
The approval comes after the NEB found Trans Mountain had met a number of pre-construction conditions for the various sites.
However, the letter states the company’s request to also resume work at the Edmonton terminal has not yet been approved, saying the NEB is still reviewing whether pre-construction conditions have been met at that site.
Trans Mountain had initially requested for work at all terminals to resume on Monday, but the exact start date is not yet clear. The company told Global News it expects to release more information soon.
“Meeting pre-construction conditions is one of several things that we need to have in place before getting shovels in the ground.”
Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi called the NEB’s approval “an important decision” on the way to construction ramping up “this season.”
Construction had just gotten underway in Burnaby, Edmonton, and along the pipeline route in-between, when the Federal Court of Appeal halted the work last year, ruling the federal government had not properly consulted with First Nations.
Following the ruling, the government restarted consultations with 117 Indigenous stakeholders, while the NEB also reopened hearings on the project.
In February, the NEB recommended Ottawa reapprove the controversial $7.5-billion project, which the Liberal government did earlier this summer after weeks of delays.
WATCH: (Aired July 12) Trudeau visits Trans Mountain terminal in Edmonton
The pipeline expansion is set to triple the amount of bitumen flowing from Alberta to B.C. after twinning an existing pipeline between the two provinces.
Marine tanker traffic will triple as more vessels arrive at the Burnaby terminal to load crude oil destined for overseas markets.
The City of Burnaby has voiced its opposition to the expansion, with Mayor Mike Hurley promising to keep fighting the federal government’s decision.
Hurley has also said his constituents’ safety concerns over the expansion have been ignored, and brought those concerns to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this summer.
The city is considering joining the B.C. government’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, after a lower court decided that the province could not restrict the transport of diluted bitumen inside its boundaries.
Kanahus Manuel, a spokesperson for the Tiny House Warriors, told Global News on Saturday the decision to allow construction to resume doesn’t change efforts to fight the project until it’s dead.
“This just reaffirms how the Canadian government, the National Energy Board, how they see Indigenous peoples,” she said on the phone from Blue River, B.C., where she and other Secwepemc people have set up protest camps on their traditional territory along the pipeline route.
“The action against this pipeline is going to continue to pick up, all along this line, and that’s what we’ve committed to. People aren’t scared to keep mobilizing their forces in Burnaby again.”
Last year, more than 200 protesters were arrested on Burnaby Mountain before the project was halted.
— With files from Tom Vernon, Hannah Jackson, Jesse Ferreras and the Canadian Press