Burnaby residents express relief, dismay after Camp Cloud dismantled

The day after city officials and police moved in to dismantle Camp cloud, the pipeline protest camp, residents of Burnaby ventured to the now empty-looking site, expressing relief and dismay that the area has been cleared.

The city of Burnaby has cleared the spot protesters staked out for nine months

Five protesters were arrested Thursday morning as city officials and police dismantled the encampment. (Alex Migdal/CBC)

The day after city officials and police dismantled Camp Cloud, residents of Burnaby ventured to the now empty-looking site, expressing both relief and dismay that the area has been cleared.

The camp, which sits across the street from the Kinder Morgan tank farm on Burnaby Mountain in protest of the Trans Mountain pipeline, evolved over nine months into a small shantytown of semi-permanent structures.

Until Thursday, it featured a two-storey wooden structure, a cabin, tents, trailers and an outdoor shower.

Now, all that is left of the spot that some protesters called home is patches of grass and gravel lined with a concrete barrier. 

On Aug. 10, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Gomery granted the city an injunction ordering all camp structures, shelters and vehicles to be removed from outside the Kinder Morgan tank farm within 48 hours. Protesters were also told to extinguish a ceremonial "sacred flame" because it presented a fire hazard.

Five protesters were arrested Thursday morning as city officials and police dismantled the encampment. A family of four living at the camp is now being assisted by social services to secure emergency shelter.

Protesters are still allowed to peacefully protest on the site, as long as they don't build any more structures.

Camp Cloud evolved into a shantytown of structures since it was first established in November of 2017. (Ben Nelms/Canadian Press)

'Really unsightly'

Laurel Bell, who lives in the neighbourhood, said she was happy to see the structures and protesters were no longer there.

"I love it, to me it looks beautiful. They seemed to have covered up the graffiti that was along here," she said.

"It doesn't bother me that people come up here to protest, but that was not necessary and it was really unsightly. And I was really worried about fire, there's nothing but forest around here."

Bell said that despite her relief, she was not impressed with how the city of Burnaby handled the campers, adding she felt the site should have been cleared much earlier.

Dipak Dattani with the City of Burnaby said the dismantling operation went smoothy.

"We were able to complete it in one day, so we're glad about that," he said.

Dattani said the protesters' belongings have been carefully catalogued and accounted for, and can be retrieved from city staff until Sept. 21.

Laurel Bell, who lives in the neighbourhood, said she was happy to see the camp cleared. (Alex Migdal/CBC)

Others still support camp

Not everyone is happy to see the protesters gone. Cathy Griffin, who lives down the road from the site, said she supported the protesters.

"I have donated money to them as I drove by," Griffin said. "That's what I did because I believe they should have been heard."

Sarah Ross, who also said she is a Camp Cloud supporter, expressed disappointment that the camp is gone.

"Coming up here today and seeing that there's no camp — the one thing that I do notice is that the gates are still here," Ross said.

"And Kinder Morgan is still working. And that's why I came. Because we need to watch them now that the camp's not here to do the work for us."

With files from Rafferty Baker and Alex Migdal

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