Four anti-pipeline activists from Vancouver Island were arrested Monday afternoon after three of them chained themselves to a fence outside Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal.
The protesters arrived on Sunday after taking part in Walk 4 the Salish Sea, a 75-kilometre walk that started in Victoria and ended in Burnaby with a festival. More than 100 people took part in the four-day march.
Once Sunday’s festivities concluded at Westridge Park, Paige Harwood, Keith Cherry and Howard Breen settled in for the night, chained to a fence.
“We have no weapons. We are standing in peaceful resistance,” Harwood told the NOW the next morning, adding the group had plans to stay “indefinitely.”
One of the protesters donned a diaper, and supporters brought them coffee, blankets, snacks, water and even a portable composting toilet.
Police showed up Monday afternoon and the protesters were arrested around 4:30 p.m., according to Breen, who also said they were charged with mischief and have a court date in early September.
Construction on the company’s $7.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion project is scheduled to start in September. Last week, Kinder Morgan offered an initial public offering in hopes of raising $1.75 billion by May 31.
Though the pipeline has received federal approval, it’s still unknown how B.C.’s new minority government will affect the project.
The B.C. Greens and the NDP have vowed to stop it. There are also numerous lawsuits against Trans Mountain, including a challenge by the City of Burnaby in the Federal Court of Appeal and numerous cases involving First Nations groups.
“Investors are currently looking at Kinder Morgan and we’re trying to say to them, ‘This is not a sustainable or worthy investment,’” said Hrwood. “This pipeline will not be built. We are also pushing a coalition between the NDP and the Greens, and to stick to their promise against Kinder Morgan. If they’re not going to make it happen, then the indigenous and those who are working in solidarity will.”
Ali Hounsell, a Trans Mountain spokesperson, issued a statement Monday, acknowledging the demonstration.
“Kinder Morgan is monitoring the situation to ensure those on site are exercising their views in a respectful manner and not adversely impacting our operations or the community,” she said. “Our top priority is the safety of all the individuals on site, as well as the integrity of our facilities and assets.”
Harwood, who sang as she was carried away by police, said she was protesting for the people and the land.
“I’m even here for the CEO of Kinder Morgan because it doesn’t matter what your skin colour is, the health of our planet affects everyone.”
After their release, the group made their way to the ferry, according to Breen.
"We were treated by our colleagues to dinner on the ferry and we debriefed, and had a bit of a celebration," he said. "It was quite gleeful. ... We're all now just coming to terms with the fallout and whether or not our impact had the positive effect we hope it did."