School board chair Larry Hayes wants to sit down with Kinder Morgan to come up with a plan to deal with potential oil spills at local schools close to the Trans Mountain pipeline.
"We are going to be renewing our consultation with Kinder Morgan. They would know the issues and know what's probably required in a safety plan to deal with the potential risk, so that's going to be something we are going to be proactive in doing," Hayes said.
On Monday, Hayes told the NOW that he's aware of three schools that are close to the pipeline: Lyndhurst, Stoney Creek and Forest Grove ele-mentaries - but he wasn't clear on details.
Last Friday, BROKE - Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion - started asking about school safety plans in the event of an oil spill, given the Trans Mountain pipeline runs beneath the school grounds at Stoney Creek, the same school where Kinder Morgan held its first local information session on the pipeline expansion plan.
"From what I was told, (at) Stoney Creek, there are three lines in the right-of-way, I believe one's jet fuel and one's gasoline, and the other one I wasn't sure was just crude," Hayes said.
Burnaby resident Don Osborn has two young girls attending Stoney Creek Elementary, and he was unaware that a pipeline runs beneath his daughters' school.
"I would think there would be some kind of disclosure from the school. By all means, I would want to know what the safety contingency plans are. The school seems to have a pretty organized safety procedure," he said, adding he would like to know if there are any environmental concerns related to the pipeline. "With (the) earthquake related thing, that would be my question, what kind of risk is there? Is it flammable stuff? If it ruptured, could it set the school on fire."
Last week, the NOW spoke to the principal at Forest Grove, who didn't know anything about a pipeline near the school.
"I don't know if sending out bulletins to parents, if there are pipelines running across the field, would raise undue alarm," Hayes said.
Hayes also said Burnaby schools have very robust emergency preparedness plans, but there is nothing in place to deal with oil spills.
"We have to remember these pipelines have been there for decades. Until something happens, nobody expects something to happen," he said. "I was assured by district staff, any of those school where pipelines are near, we don't do indiscriminate digging."
The Trans Mountain pipeline has been transporting oil from Alberta to Burnaby since 1953. Kinder Morgan, the pipeline's operator, wants to twin the line, to more than double capacity, and plans to follow the existing right-of-way where possible. But because Burnaby is a densely populated area, the company is looking elsewhere for alternate routes.
According to Andrew Galarnyk, external relations director with Kinder Morgan Canada, the Trans Mountain mainline right-of-way runs through two Burnaby school district properties: Stoney Creek and Forest Grove.
"On both properties, the right-of-way is adjacent to the school grounds - one is beside a playing field, the other runs out front of the school under a community garden," he wrote in an email to the NOW. "To be clear, neither pipeline would run beneath a school building. In terms of safety at schools and all along the pipeline, our priority is to keep the public and employees safe by having damage prevention and integrity management programs in place to ensure the safe and reliable operation of our pipelines."