Kinder Morgan takes Burnaby protesters to court
Surveyors, right, working on behalf of Kinder Morgan in preparation for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project are forced to leave the site by protesters on Burnaby Mountain in Burnaby, B.C., on Wednesday October 29, 2014. The proposed $5-billion expansion would nearly triple the capacity of the pipeline that carries crude oil from near Edmonton to the Vancouver area to be loaded on tankers.
Photograph by: Darryl Dyck , THE CANADIAN PRESS
Trans Mountain is seeking an immediate court order to stop citizens from impeding survey work for a new pipeline route through a conservation area on Burnaby Mountain.
It asked for a court hearing for 2 p.m. Friday to hear its request for an interim injunction. It is also seeking a permanent injunction and damages after a group of protesters blocked the company’s work crews Wednesday.
Simon Fraser University professor Lynne Quarmby told the Sun she was in her office around 5 p.m. when someone delivered her secretary a “big weighty mass of paper” without saying a word.
As Quarmby read through the document — about three inches thick, she reckoned — she realized the document was a lawsuit and she was listed as a defendant.
“It’s intimidating, it’s confusing, it’s overwhelming,” she said. “I’ve spent the last two hours speaking to people to figure out what to do and what’s going on.”
In the application, the company is asking the court to “restrain the defendants’ trespass upon Burnaby Lands, and their wrongful obstruction, impeding, interfering with and prevention of” its field work on the mountain.
Quarmby said she rejected the company’s claim that she was trespassing.
“It’s a public park. There are hiking trails that welcome us into the park. The City of Burnaby and the RCMP have been coming by and chatting with us,” she said. “There are no signs anyway that say no trespassing.”
Project lead Carey Johannesson claimed in an affidavit that accompanied the court documents that company workers set up signs around them that read “NO ENTRY” then got to work.
He claimed protesters soon arrived, then “verbally attacked” and stood in the way of the crew. Johannesson said the conduct of the protesters was intimidating and he was concerned for his physical safety.
Quarmby said she was in the park at the time, but on a teleconference call, and did not see any of the activity Johannesson claimed occurred.
“While I was just standing in a park ... I also don’t necessarily believe the accusations in this document. I honestly don’t think that’s even true,” she said.
The company claimed in its application that it will suffer loss and damage if the citizens are not stopped from “engaging in their unlawful conduct.”
It is seeking damages, interest and costs.
Johannesson’s affidavit sets out some of the harm the company is claiming to suffer at the hands of the defendants. They include $5.5 million in direct costs and $88 million in lost revenue for Trans Mountain for each month of delay for the project.
Quarmby said she plans to appear in court Friday to ask for more time to read the papers and prepare a defence.
“I’m not going to sit by and let this happen,” she said.
“It’s an intimidation tactic.”
Kinder Morgan has an order from the National Energy Board that prevents the City of Burnaby from stopping the company’s work crews, even though the land is a city-owned conservation area, and the City of Burnaby is dead set against the pipeline expansion. Burnaby plans to appeal the NEB order at the Federal Court of Appeal level.
Kinder Morgan sought the NEB order after city staff ticketed the company’s work crews for cutting down trees in a public park.