While the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) is approved and under construction, activists haven’t stopped protesting the project.
“It’s not over til it’s over,” said activist Lorne Salter. “Climate disasters are coming fast and furious.”
Tree sit on Government Street
The volunteer group Protect the Planet has set up a tent in a tree to watch over a Trans Mountain pipeline construction site on Government Street in Burnaby.
Activists have also put up tents alongside the construction adjacent to the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail and greenway.
“Just because it’s approved doesn’t mean it’s environmentally friendly,” said Khursten Bullock, an activist camping at the trail.
SFU professor and climate activist Tim Takaro said the protest is meant to point out “the government fallacy that we pretend like we’re climate leaders but we’re actually leading in emissions.”
He noted Canada is the worst of G7 countries in per capita fossil fuel CO2 emissions.
“What protesting this project is really about is showing how bad the government is and why the UN Secretary General says that this is madness. It is madness, and future generations will judge us. They will say why didn’t we do what Norway did? Why didn’t we do what the U.K. did? Why did we just be greedy and keep pumping oil?”
Burnaby Coun. Alison Gu and councillor-elect Maita Santiago visited the camp on Tuesday in support of the cause.
Protest not impacting work
Trans Mountain plans to close Government Street between Horne Street and the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway/Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail until spring 2023, the company told the NOW in an emailed statement.
The protesters say they expect to remain in the location until they are moved. Trans Mountain said the protest is currently not impacting work.
Takaro said the group is concerned with the construction site’s proximity to salmon-bearing Stoney Creek, right as salmon spawning season begins.
“We are mostly concerned about the creek, so that’s why we put the watchtower right there.”
Trans Mountain said it is using a “unique crossing method” at the creek that will minimize the impact to the riparian area, with the pipeline “installed within the road bed and over existing culverts.”
More TMX protests in Burnaby
The activist group Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver hosted a protest at the intersection of Lougheed Highway and Production Way on Oct. 20, with signs and banners opposing the Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipelines.
Artist George Rammell stood on one corner with a large art piece made of aluminum and a converted dolly, depicting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a teeter totter scale of oil barrels in front of a child inspired by Greta Thunberg.
The intersection action was to highlight “how $17 billion of taxpayer money is going to be lost due to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion,” said Alison Bodine, Climate Convergence central organizer.
“It’s apparent to most people that you shouldn’t be taking more oil out of the ground, shipping it off and burning it to contribute to further greenhouse gases,” she said.