British Columbia

Hundreds rally in Burnaby to oppose Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

People gathered outside of Kinder Morgan's Westridge Terminal in Burnaby at the conclusion of the Walk for the Salish Sea, a 75-kilometre journey by those opposed to twinning the company's pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.

Walk for the Salish Sea comes as Kinder Morgan files initial public offering to finance project

A participant in a 75-kilometre journey from Victoria to Burnaby at Kinder Morgan's Westridge Terminal on Sunday, May 28, 2017. (CBC)

Hundreds of people gathered outside of Kinder Morgan's Westridge Terminal in Burnaby at the conclusion of a 75-kilometre protest march Sunday.

Those who participated in the Walk for the Salish Sea, from Victoria to the Vancouver area, are opposed to twinning the company's pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.

According to the event's Facebook page, the walk was against "all fossil fuel expansions in the absence of Indigenous consent, sound science and ecological balance." 

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip spoke at the rally.

"We always need to be ready to mobilize and have a presence," said Audrey Siegl with the Musqueam First Nation. "We need to remind not just the government but industry whose land it is."

The Musqueam First Nation's Audrey Siegl says the Walk for the Salish Sea helped to keep people mobilized against Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (CBC)

The rally comes as Kinder Morgan looks to finance the $7.4 billion expansion project.

The Texas-based company, in conjunction with its indirect subsidiary Kinder Morgan Canada, announced Thursday its final investment decision on the project, which is conditional on the successful completion of the IPO.

The public offering is set to close on Wednesday.

Construction could start as early as September, with a completion date of December 2019.

Although the project has federal approval and provincial consent, many wonder if B.C.'s new political environment could bring a halt to the expansion.

Greens against Kinder Morgan

On Wednesday, the B.C. Greens are expected to announce which party they will support in the B.C. legislature.

During the election, the B.C. Greens, which won three seats, said it would call for a stop to the project.

"The Greens have been solidly against the Kinder Morgan project and I'm very hopeful they'll find a way in their dealings with the other two parties ... to stop it," said City of Vancouver councillor and Green party member Adriane Carr.

She argues the province's support for the project under Christy Clark's leadership came without proper consultation.

"When they issued that permit, which is the yes from B.C., [they] did so without any consultation with First Nations, without more public consultation, and without doing any extra scientific studies," she said.

Hundreds gathered in Burnaby on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the conclusion of the walk. Organizers say the event helped raise $20,000 for Squamish Coldwater and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations lawsuits against the Trans Mountain expansion. (CBC)

Others at the rally said that past litigation, including a landmark 2014 Supreme Court of Canada case that favoured the Tsilhqot'in people in B.C. in a battle over land title, sets a precedent for ongoing legal battles related to the area the Trans Mountain pipeline will cross.

Kinder Morgan's Westridge Terminal in Burnaby would get three new berths as part of the expansion.

The company says engagement with communities, landowners, stakeholders and Aboriginal communities has been ongoing since 2012 and that environmental protection plans have been developed along the entire route.

It also says that during construction, the equivalent of 15,000 people will be working on the pipeline expansion, while the project will also create the equivalent of 37,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs per year during operations.

Organizers of the rally say the event helped raise $20,000 for Squamish Coldwater and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations' lawsuits against the project. 

with files from Meera Bains and Canadian Press.