The deadline for the eviction of Camp Cloud came and went Saturday morning with the smell of pancakes in the air and Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan vowing the city would go to court to oust those living there.
People living at Camp Cloud at the gates of Kinder Morgan’s tank farm on Burnaby Mountain responded to Wednesday’s eviction notice from the city by holding a peaceful pancake breakfast event, complete with fresh blueberries, according to one of the residents.
Once that was over, people representing Camp Cloud had harsh words for the City of Burnaby at a press conference, with spokesperson Kwitsel Tatel accusing the city of acting in bad faith with the eviction notice, as well as the repeated orders to extinguish the camp’s ceremonial fires.
Tatel said the eviction notice shows that Mayor Derek Corrigan and the city aren’t really supportive of people against the Trans Mountain pipeline project.
“If the City of Burnaby is really in alliance with Camp Cloud and all front-line people opposing this pipeline, well, you got me fooled,” Tatel told an assembled throng of more than a dozen media outlets.
Tatel said repeated visits by city bylaw officers and police amounted to “sneak attacks” by the city – and the people of Camp Cloud will not be “genocided off our land.”
“We are a public, peaceful protest camp,” she said.
The group has a meeting scheduled with Burnaby city manager Lambert Chu on Monday to discuss a variety of issues, but Corrigan told media gathered right after the Camp Cloud press conference that the city would be going to court “sooner than later” to get an “enforceable order that the RCMP feel comfortable in utilizing.”
Corrigan was appearing at the launch of the new Willingdon Linear Park when media arrived fresh off the Camp Cloud press conference.
Corrigan took great pains to distance himself and council from the decision to go to court, saying it was up to city staff to enforce the bylaws.
“Council doesn’t have any direct impact in that,” he told reporters.
But he said that it was the opinion of the RCMP, Burnaby fire department, provincial fire department, BC Hydro and Kinder Morgan that Camp Cloud was posing dangers through its ceremonial fires and permanent structures over gas lines.
“The overwhelming evidence is this is a danger to the public,” he said.
Corrigan also criticized the camp’s drinking and drug use.
“This has escalated far beyond any symbolic protest camp,” he said.
In general, the city has the authority to remove illegal structures or illegally parked vehicles on city property, but Corrigan said the RCMP would prefer the city got a court order.
Tatel said Camp Cloud will not be putting out its fires because the flames represent the overall fight against climate change.
“We need to protect the sacred fire, for if we lose it, we all lose,” she said.
- With files from Lauren Boothby and Jennifer Gauthier