How will I escape a disaster on Burnaby Mountain? This town hall might have answers

My Instagram feed is normally a soothing respite from the horrors of the world through a collection of cute animals, tasty-looking dishes and people’s vacay pics.

But not on this day.

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I follow the UniverCity Community Association on Instagram because I live in this community.

The association is staging a “community town hall” on May 22 and the discussion topics listed in the IG post sounded really alarming.

The event will discuss “road safety, emergency response and the need for an evacuation plan for Burnaby Mountain.”

Um, what?

I guess I should have looked into this more before I moved on top of Burnaby Mountain, but I foolishly assumed there was an evacuation plan in place for a large community that only has two roads leading out.

Apparently, I was wrong.  

So I am definitely going to this event, being held at 6:30 p.m. at the University Highlands Elementary School gym.

The featured guests include City of Burnaby staff and Mayor Mike Hurley, a former firefighter who I am sure will want to get this sorted out.

Burnaby Mountain
Burnaby Mountain is a lovely place to live, but questions remain about an evacuation plan for those who live there. - NOW FILES

I did some more research on this and found a story from 2016 about a report, prepared by PGL Environmental Consultants, that says increasing the number of tanks through the Trans Mountain pipeline project, placing them closer together and increasing the volume of diluted bitumen will increase the risks of accidents, fires and exposure to toxic chemicals.

“I think the risks to SFU are unique because it‘s not only the tank farm per se, but it’s the impact it could have on cutting off access to the whole top of the mountain and isolating us,” SFU president Andrew Petter told the NOW. “If there were an emergency, often you would expect that the first response would be to evacuate people. Obviously if there’s a serious emergency at the tank farm and it cuts off access to the road, evacuation does not become a realistic possibility, and that itself is a risk.”

So, that’s really going to help me sleep at night.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44

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