Burnaby mayor wants more action on pipeline after meeting with Trudeau

BURNABY, B.C. — The mayor of Burnaby, B.C., says he met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss his concerns about the risk of a fire at a tank farm in his city, which would be the terminus of an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline.

Mike Hurley said he told Trudeau on Saturday that the facility on Burnaby Mountain is within five kilometres of forests and a residential area that would put thousands of lives in danger.

“I said, ‘If it goes ahead, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t, we have to have some serious discussions around safety and protecting our residents,’” said Hurley, a former firefighter.

He characterized the meeting as a good start but said an initial discussion with Trudeau has to be backed up by concrete measures from the federal government, which is expected to announce a decision on the future of the project later this month.

“I want to sit down and talk about the real issues in depth with people who are experts in that field to ensure that we’re getting the protection for our residents that we need,” Hurley said. “The prime minister and I talking about it doesn’t really produce anything.”

Trudeau attended a street festival in Burnaby immediately after meeting with Hurley but did not take any questions from media.

The Prime Minister’s Office said only that the meeting included representatives of the fire department and focused on local issues such as housing.

Hurley said he told Trudeau that Burnaby is bearing the brunt of the risk for a twinned pipeline that the federal government purchased for $4.5 billion and the Alberta government is pushing to have built.

“Everyone’s willing to put our community at risk to fulfil their needs and we need some answers,” Hurley said about the pipeline that would more than triple the amount of diluted bitumen flowing from the Edmonton area to a port in Burnaby.

“Any time you’re dealing with flammable liquids like oil there’s always a chance there can be a rupture of the tank, there can be a boilover of some sort within the tank that can cause really dangerous chemical reactions, not to mention fires that would come along with that.”

Hurley said he doesn’t agree with Alberta’s ad campaign launched last week in an effort to sway people in favour of a pipeline that he and many residents of Burnaby do not support.

He said the province’s focus on a future based on oil is “a fantasy.”

“The good old days of the oil industry are over and they need to start preparing for a new economy,” he said.

The National Energy Board endorsed the pipeline expansion earlier this year after reconsidering its effects on marine life off the coast of British Columbia.

Last month, pro-pipeline protesters rallying outside a Calgary office tower during a clean energy announcement by federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi chanted “build the pipeline.”

Sohi told reporters the government is working toward getting the pipeline built and has also said officials have been consulting with Indigenous communities.

The proposal to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline was first approved by cabinet in 2016. The Federal Court of Appeal rescinded that decision in August, saying neither an environmental review nor Indigenous consultations had been properly completed.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Who is at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19? Firefighters, drivers, pharmacists, cooks

Central Alberta firefighter says virus taking toll on mental health

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Federal share is approaching $750 million annually, up from $618 million in 2012-13

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

N.S. fire crews continue battling ‘out-of-control’ Porters Lake blaze

Word of the fire first emerged early Saturday afternoon

Technology, representation butt heads amid debate over resuming Parliament

The Liberals are now proposing four meetings a week until June 17

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim makes its way through Halifax

The 35-year-old military public affairs officer and Halifax native died in the crash

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada as of May 23

There are 83,621 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim to make its way through Halifax today

The military public affairs officer died in the Snowbirds Tutor jet crash in B.C. last Sunday

Employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

Only eight per cent of employers were fully prepared to restart operations, survey finds

Liberals table proposal for expanded Commons COVID-19 meetings, summer sittings

OTTAWA — The Liberals have tabled a proposal that would see expanded… Continue reading

Most Read