Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy court order on Burnaby Mountain
Trans Mountain says it has been in touch with RCMP about how to safely bring crews back
It remains unclear when police might move in to arrest protesters who have defied a court order to take down their camps on Burnaby Mountain by yesterday afternoon.
Trans Mountain, the Kinder-Morgan owned entity that is proposing to expand a pipeline route between the Edmonton area and Metro Vancouver's Burrard Inlet, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that said it has been in communication with Burnaby RCMP over an enforcement order.
"Trans Mountain has been in communication with Burnaby RCMP to work on plans for safely bringing crews on to Burnaby Mountain. Enforcement of the injunction granted by the BC Supreme Court is the responsibility of the RCMP and Trans Mountain plans to resume work once it has been determined safe for our workers," the statement read.
The company said it was hopeful that the protesters and their supporters would respect the court order and allow surveyors access to the work areas, which are within a park and a conservation area, and where trees have been cut down in preparation for borehole drilling.
"We believe it is possible for people to protest and express themselves while we commence our field studies safely," Trans Mountain said.
Deadline passed without incident
On Friday, a judge issued an injunction ordering the protesters to clear out by 4 p.m. PT Monday and make way for crews.
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More than an hour before the deadline, representatives of the company arrived with police and read out the court order.
At around the same time, at a press conference in Burnaby, the RCMP announced that officers would not be moving in to make arrests immediately. Instead, they planned to give the protesters time to remove their camp.
But instead of clearing out, hundreds of protesters and supporters arrived throughout the afternoon and early evening, staging a rally at the site. Some told reporters they would risk arrest rather than comply with the court order.
One Coast Salish First Nation woman, who identified herself as a guardian named Sut-Lut, says she's willing to defy the order and go to jail because she loves Canada, the land and her human family.
Proposed routes weighed
Kinder Morgan is proposing to bore a tunnel through Burnaby Mountain for a portion of its expanded pipeline, and the test drills it is attempting to conduct at this time are to collect data for its proposal submission to the National Energy Board.
Though the plan to disturb and bore an oil pipeline under a conservation area has enraged opponents, Trans Mountain Expansion project representatives say it may be the better option, considering its alternative proposed route through a neighbourhood.
"The tunnel option through Burnaby Mountain is a result of two-and-a-half year’s consultation with the community, their request to see the existing pipeline rerouted and our objective to minimize disruptions to landowners, neighbours, and park and road users," Trans Mountain said.
The company has also launched a lawsuit against several activists for blocking their access to the site when crews arrived to continue work at the end of October.
With files from The Canadian Press