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Burnaby battles Kinder Morgan over survey

Russell Hixson
Burnaby battles Kinder Morgan over survey

Surveying on Burnaby Mountain has halted as the City of Burnaby, B.C. and Kinder Morgan are locked in a standoff over the right to access and survey the lands. Both have taken legal action to stop the other.

Kinder Morgan’s motion filed with the National Energy Board (NEB) argues that to fulfill its project application requirements, it must have access to the lands. It references a decision last month by the NEB that stated Kinder Morgan did not need the city’s permission.

After the work began early this month, Burnaby issued stop work orders alleging bylaws were broken by surveyors.

Burnaby Parks Regulation Bylaw 1979, states: "No person shall cut, break, injure, damage, deface, destroy, foul or pollute any personal property or any tree, shrub, plant, turf or flower in or on any park."

According to the company, a 20 by 20 metre canopy is required for workers to carry out testing without overhanging branches. On the ground, space is also needed.

According to the city, Kinder Morgan workers cut down six large (14- to 24-metre high), healthy trees and seven large wildlife trees and clearing an area about the size of a football field.

It also alleges crews limited traffic access to Burnaby Mountain, and stopped City of Burnaby Parks staff from accessing City trails – also violations of city bylaws.

Kinder Morgan ceased surveying and filed a motion with the NEB to force the city to stop hindering the exploratory work.

A report by an arborist hired by Kinder Morgan shows crews are only targeting trees deemed to be declining in health or trees that are pioneer species.

Kinder Morgan’s survey plans are to investigate the mountain’s environment and also to conduct geotechnical tests by drilling boreholes to determine its viability for an extension of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

At one of the two borehole locations, a truck mounted drill rig will be utilized for drilling. At the second location, where the tree clearing took place, a helicopter will lower the equipment into the site. A grassy area was selected as a temporary work space and helicopter staging area to bring pieces of the equipment into one of the borehole locations. According to Trans Mountain officials, it is not building a helicopter pad in the conservation area and no helicopters will land for the work.

Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart slammed Kinder Morgan when he visited the survey site.

"I never cease to be amazed at what this company does in pursuit of its pipeline project, ruining a natural habitat that was established by residents as an official conservation area in the 1970s," Stewart said.

Stewart encouraged residents to participate in NEB’s public application process which will be open for comments later this month. Stewart’s office will be assisting residents to apply online.

Kinder Morgan is proposing an expansion of its current 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Strathcona County near Edmonton and Burnaby.

The proposed expansion, if approved, would create a twinned pipeline that would increase the capacity of the system from 300,000 barrels per day, to 890,000 barrels per day.

Kinder Morgan stated that the area through Burnaby Mountain is ideal because it would cause minimal traffic disruption during construction and avoid all area homes.

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