'It's hideous': Burnaby residents upset by refinery cutting trees

Company admits it failed to inform its neighbours

On a routine dog walk in her North Burnaby neighbourhood, Kathy Berggren-Clive saw something that shocked her.

“My mouth just dropped open. I could not even believe what I was seeing,” she said.

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A few steps from her front door, at the corner of Yale Street and North Carleton Avenue, Berggren-Clive discovered a patch of trees on the property of the Parkland fuel refinery had been cleared, exposing two large tanks, one of which is rusting. 

“It’s hideous,” she said. 

Berggren-Clive said she knew she was moving next to a refinery when she bought her house some 20 years ago, but Parkland has generally been a good neighbour until it cut the patch of trees without warning or consultation. 

The visible tanks are an eyesore to nearby residents and anyone using the Tran Mountain trail that follows that stretch of Parkland’s fence, she said. And, she said, without any communication from the company, she initially feared it planned to build new tanks near her home. 

Berggren-Clive said she and her neighbours have been in contact with Parkland since the trees were cut. She said a company representative apologized for the lack of communication and informed them the trees needed to be cut for fire safety. 

The company has also posted signage explaining the “selective tree removals”  were a “proactive measure to improve tank farm safety.” The company has also committed to working with its neighbours to plan for a new landscaped visual barrier and has placed wood from the cut trees outside its fence as free firewood for anyone who wants it. 

In a statement to the NOW, a Parkland spokesperson said: “We have been honest with our neighbours and will be honest with you; our lack of engagement fell short of the high standards we set for ourselves as well as the high standards our neighbors have come to expect of us.”

Asked whether Parkland had the proper permits to cut down the trees, a City of Burnaby spokesperson said the company had committed to submitting the appropriate permits after the fact but did not say whether doing so was proper practice. 

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