British Columbia

'It's a joke': Burnaby residents scoff at Kinder Morgan first-aid kits

Some Burnaby, B.C., residents are calling a free first-aid kit distributed by Kinder Morgan to thousands in their city insulting. Kinder Morgan says it has received positive feedback about them.

Company says the kits are part of an information and safety program for landowners and neighbours

Some Burnaby, B.C., residents who are opposed to the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline say the delivery of first aid kits to Burnaby residents is insulting. (Elan Gibson)

Some Burnaby, B.C., residents are calling a free first-aid kit distributed by Kinder Morgan to thousands of people insulting. 

"It's a joke," said resident Elan Gibson. 

She feels the optics of the energy giant delivering iodine wipes, sterile gauze and antiseptic towelettes to people who live near the Trans Mountain pipeline and tank farm are ironic at best. 

Burnaby is the terminus for the pipeline, which carries crude oil from Alberta. 

Kinder Morgan intends to triple that pipeline's capacity with its expansion project.

The $7.4 billion project has been approved by the federal government and the National Energy Board, but many residents are in opposition, and the city has not yet granted necessary permits.

Gibson did not receive one of the packages herself, but was given one by her neighbour, who did.  

She feels it's ludicrous that the company would send out a first-aid kit while ignoring citizens' fears over potential dangers from the tank farm.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline runs from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. The company is looking to triple the pipeline's capacity. (Erin Collins/CBC)

"Why are they sending out a first-aid kit to people along a pipeline … and not address the issues of the city of Burnaby and us citizens that are concerned about our lives?"

Fellow resident John Clarke feels the same way. Clarke lives near the tank farm and is a member of a local group called Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE). 

"To be handing out basically a Band-aid box, it's like, you know dealing with a hydrogen bomb by putting on an extra jacket," Clarke said.

"It's an absolute utter insult to people to be sending those out."

Hundreds of people gathered at Kinder Morgan's Burnaby terminal on May 14, 2016 as part of a world-wide event asking countries to "break-free" of fossil fuels. (CBC)

Company says it's had positive feedback

According to a statement from Trans Mountain, the company is in the process of delivering 6,000 information packages to citizens as part of its yearly public awareness program on pipeline safety and damage prevention. 

The company says the packages contain safety information about the Call Before You Dig program. 

"The packages often include a small gift, in this case, a household first-aid kit for common medical accidents and injuries," said the statement.

It goes on to say that the company has received positive feedback on the packages, "but if someone does not wish to receive the kit moving forward, they can let us know."