Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew has proposed pre-staging booms and other equipment so that oil from a spill at Kinder Morgan's terminal could be more quickly contained along the yellow lines.

Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew has proposed pre-staging booms and other equipment so that oil from a spill at Kinder Morgan's terminal could be more quickly contained along the yellow lines.

Metro Vancouver directors tussle over oil pipeline response

Politicians split on strategy as Kinder Morgan prepares to apply for Trans Mountain twinning

With Kinder Morgan Canada poised this month to unveil its application to twin the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, Metro Vancouver politicians are scrambling to decide how to respond.

The Metro board voted Friday to begin its own preliminary analysis of the $5.4-billion project so the regional district can raise tough questions when the National Energy Board begins formal hearings in 2014.

But there’s a wide spectrum of thinking on the board, from mayors who have already come out against the new pipeline that will triple Trans Mountain’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day to those who prefer a wait-and-see stance to press the company for better safety measures.

“This isn’t about bargaining, this is about saying ‘no’ to something that we know is going to be disastrous for our communities in the long run,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said Friday. “I do not want to leave this as my legacy as a politician.”

Metro’s board had been expected to endorse concerns raised by Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew, who has exchanged letters with Kinder Morgan officials for the past year in an attempt to probe their plans and seek improvements.

But, at Corrigan’s urging, directors voted to defer that endorsement pending more study.

“I don’t want to be in a position where the National Energy Board says ‘Well, Metro says it’s okay as long as we do whatever Belcarra has indicated are the appropriate measures,'” Corrigan said.

Councils in Vancouver and Burnaby already oppose the project and Drew said their strategy of refusing to talk directly to Kinder Morgan is a mistake.

He fears a pipeline rupture spilling into Burrard Inlet and has argued for faster spill response assurances, potentially by pre-staging booms and other necessary equipment near the Burnaby terminal to quickly contain escaped oil.

North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton noted oil has been shipped through the harbour for a century, albeit in much smaller quantities.

“There have always been risks,” he said. “There are risks now and, regardless of whether or not the Kinder Morgan project goes ahead, there will be risks in the future.”

Walton said the planned seven-fold increase in tanker traffic could actually result in less risk to the environment than posed by the current shipments if regulations tighten and Kinder Morgan and other responders are compelled to improve pipeline monitoring and cleanup capability.

West Vancouver Mayor Mike Smith said Metro must let the NEB process unfold, adding it’s premature to take any position.

Richmond Coun. Harold Steves fears opposition to shipments through Burrard Inlet may prompt Kinder Morgan to switch to an alternate terminal in the Fraser River estuary that would risk a catastrophic spill.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore said a defeat of the project as currently proposed might bring other risks, such as a proliferation of oil-carrying rail cars rolling through local cities as oil moves by rail instead.

“If a pipeline doesn’t get built, I can probably foresee our rail yard – Port Coquitlam has the biggest rail yard in B.C and the second biggest in Western Canada – will become a mobile pipeline.”

Also referred to staff for further recommendation was a request from Delta Mayor Lois Jackson that officials from Kinder Morgan, the NEB and Port Metro Vancouver appear before the Metro board to answer questions.

Other directors warned that couldn’t be done without also hearing delegations from dozens if not hundreds of project opponents.

Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read