Someone has re-occupied a forested Burnaby area in the way of the Trans Mountain pipeline project just days after all work on the project was stopped due to safety issues.
On Dec. 9, a protest treehouse called the Holmes Creek Protection Camp was cleared out of a wooded area just west of North Road and south of Highway 1 in Burnaby.
According to that protest camp’s organizers, Timothee Govare, with the help of a small crew, has now climbed to a 20-metre-high perch near the same area and that he plans to remain.
Many of the trees in the area are slated to be cut down and there are concerns about Trans Mountain impacts along the Brunette River.
“I am here in the canopy of the trees of Lost Creek to prevent their imminent logging preceding the installation of the Trans Mountain pipeline,” said Govare, in a news release. “I see the urgency of acting on the climate crisis. Even though they took down our first two treehouses, we’ll keep coming back because our commitment to delay construction of this disastrous project remains unchanged. Our future depends on it. My future depends on it.”
Trans Mountain suspended all work in Burnaby and across the entire pipeline route starting Friday, Dec. 18 until Jan. 4, 2021.
The move came after a worker with a contractor at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby was seriously injured on Tuesday. Another work in Edmonton died after an accident.
In a statement, the company admitted it needs to “improve” safety on the project.
“Trans Mountain is proactively taking the step to temporarily stand down construction on the Expansion Project to review, reset and refocus our efforts, and those of our contractors and their workers,” said Ian Anderson, president and CEO of Trans Mountain, in a statement. “We are committed to a strong culture of safety above all else and insist that our project contractors and subcontractors are equally committed. The critical success of any organization is its ability to self-reflect – to honestly and courageously ask the question, ‘where can we improve?’. This is non-negotiable, we must improve the safety culture and performance on our project.”
The injury was reported to the Canada Energy Regulator late Tuesday and its safety specialists were on-site Wednesday. All work in Burnaby had been shut down, but now the work will halt across the entire project.
The accident follows revelations that federal regulators recently found “systemic non-compliances” of COVID-19 mask rules at Trans Mountain worksites in Burnaby and the Lower Mainland.
Four workers were sent home following an inspection that found more than three dozen violations by contractors in three days.
Canadian Energy Regulator staff conducted a compliance inspection at the Westridge Marine Terminal (Dec. 1) and the Burnaby Terminal (Dec. 2) on Burnaby Mountain. The inspection also focused on “Spread 7,” the section of the pipeline expansion construction being done in the Lower Mainland, on Dec. 3. Work at each of these sites is contracted out to Kiewit-Ledcor Trans Mountain Partnership (KLTP).
Over the course of those three days, the inspector found 37 violations of three COVID protocols set out by Trans Mountain’s COVID-19 response plan.
- With files from Dustin Godfrey