British Columbia

Peaceful pipeline protesters return to Burnaby Mountain on B.C. Day

Peaceful pipeline protesters returned to Burnaby Mountain on B.C. Day because they say the expansion received approval to begin some work a month ahead of schedule, without the approval of First Nations.

Activists say pipeline was given advance permits without Indigenous approval

Community members gather at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C. to hold a peaceful protest against the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. (CBC/Enzo Zanatta)

Activists spent B.C. Day up on Burnaby Mountain protesting the Kinder Morgan Expansion.

Construction on the $7.5-billion project has been given the go-ahead from the National Energy Board and is expected to resume soon. It was halted last year after the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the federal government had not properly consulted with First Nations.

However there are still Indigenous leaders, community groups and environmentalists like Elan Gibson with Burnaby Residents Against Kinder Morgan Expansion who aren't giving up on stopping the project.

"It's our community. We are ground zero. We are due to suffer the explosions on this side of the mountain which are very possible with dryness and forest fires," said Gibson.

According to Gibson, Trans Mountain received approval to start construction on August 5, about a month ahead of schedule without the consultation of First Nations.

Elan Gibson with Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion says the gathering is to renew residents' dedication to the land and waters that give life. (CBC/Enzo Zanatta)

"We're opposed to the fact that the National Energy Board has given advance permits without hearing the final declaration or have a final report on their consultation with Indigenous people and that they are advance drilling underneath the mountain."

The gathering at Westridge Marine Terminal was only three hours long and peaceful. People in attendance drummed, sang, and prayed to honour life.

One of the groups in attendance was Metro Vancouver Climate Convergence, a coalition that organizes rallies about climate issues.

Organizer Allison Bodin said the pipeline isn't the best option for the economy.

"The planet cannot exist any longer under these conditions. We can no longer be putting profits ahead of basic environmental protections and it's time to turn this around."

The 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain expansion project between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., would nearly triple the existing pipeline's capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.

The current route of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The expansion would twin it.