Under a cloudy, grey sky on top of Burnaby Mountain, a crowd of around 25 rolled out a banner that read “Stop Kinder Morgan!” in bold red letters and prepared to hear the news from the B.C. Supreme Court.
They had gathered from all around Metro Vancouver to hear Justice Brenda Brown’s decision on whether to grant the City of Burnaby an injunction to stop Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
There were big stakes for those gathered at the rally, organized by BROKE (Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion), a citizen’s group started by homeowners after Kinder Morgan’s 2007 bitumen spill in Burnaby.
The expansion, if approved, will allow Kinder Morgan to twin the existing pipeline and increase the flow of diluted bitumen from Edmonton to Burnaby from the current 300,000 barrels to 890,000 barrels a day.
The $5.8 billion project is expected to create 90 new jobs and transport Canadian bitumen to markets in Asia and the U.S.
As Justice Brown announced her decision, the crowd gathered around Alan Dutton, a BROKE member who was on the phone with the group’s lawyer. Looks of dismay overcame the crowd as Dutton explained that Justice Brown has rejected the injunction.
“This is disturbing,” said BROKE spokesperson Karl Perrin. “This means City bylaws don’t really have much force, if any. What’s the point of even having laws if we can’t enforce them?”