The federal government will buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion, including the Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford. Kelvin Gawley/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford pipeline opponents say fed takeover changes little

Sumas chief, activist and resident all say still want to stop Trans Mountain expansion

Abbotsford opponents to the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline say the federal government’s plan to purchase the project and take over construction does not change their position.

Meanwhile, Mayor Henry Braun expressed hope the move would increase investor confidence and help complete a project he believes is in the national interest.

Lynn Perrin, a local anti-pipeline activist with Pipe Up, says she wasn’t surprised by the decision but she was nonetheless disappointed.

“Buying this leaky old pipeline is like going to a casino and gambling your children’s education fund,” she said.

Federal finance minister Bill Morneau announced Tuesday his government’s plan to spend $4.5 billion to buy the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries diluted bitumen from Alberta to Burnaby. Work to expand the project will now resume, while Kinder Morgan will help the federal government to try to find a new buyer for the pipeline.

Braun, said last month that delays in getting the pipeline built were threatening the provincial economy, said he was happy with the move and that it is a step to “restore confidence in our country as a place to invest.”

He said city staff will be trying to grasp the implications of the move on Abbotsford itself over the next week. More pipeline runs through Abbotsford than any other B.C. jurisdiction, with around 30 kilometres of pipe stretching the length of the city’s limits.

Abbotsford is also home to a tank farm on Sumas Mountain, and Kinder Morgan is one of the city’s largest taxpayers. Two years ago, the city signed a $1.3 million deal that would see Kinder Morgan contribute towards a new clubhouse at Ledgeview Golf Course, below which the pipeline runs.

Braun said it’s too early to say yet whether the federal government’s purchase of the pipeline will impact the Kinder Morgan deal.

But the new strategy changes little for some of the people most impacted, according to people who live close to the Sumas Mountain tank farm.

Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver said his community remains fiercely opposed to the existing tank farm in their territory, let alone the proposed expansion.

“If I was to talk to [Kinder Morgan] about their expansion proposal, I could be lynched right at home by my own community,” he said.

Silver said his priority is the protection of drinking water and that he has not been adequately assured it wouldn’t be put at risk if the expansion went ahead.

He said he understands why other First Nations, such as Cheam, have entered into mutual benefit agreements with the corporation but that simply won’t work for the Sumas people.

Barbara Guard lives on Sumas Mountain near Kinder Morgan’s tank farm. She says three pipelines run through her land to the facility and she has had numerous unresolved issues with the company since she moved there in 2010.

“They (contractors) trespass on my property, they damaged 232 trees, they’ve denied damages. I’ve been in a fight with them for five years for the destruction of my property. They’ve impacted my creek; I don’t have potable water anymore.”

She doesn’t expect to see a change in the same environmental regulations that she says has failed to protect her property.

The deal also didn’t alleviate the concerns of Coun. Patricia Ross, who has been an outspoken critic of Kinder Morgan and cast the lone vote against the city’s 2016 deal with Kinder Morgan.

Ross said Tuesday that she harbours doubts about the pipeline’s economic viability, and worried that the federal government would be on the hook for huge cleanup costs in case of a major spill.

While the feds say they intend to sell the pipeline to another company, Ross expressed doubts as to whether that would, in fact, ever happen.

She said she “could only hope” that the federal government will diligently monitor and maintain the pipeline to prevent a future spill.


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at Abbotsford border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

UFV to launch Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Abbotsford

Online event on Sept. 24 features keynote speaker Bob Rae and Steven Point

UFV wrestler Jason Bains receives four-year suspension for using banned substance

Surrey native tests positive for oral steroid Turinabol, silver national medal removed for violation

Fraser Valley foursome to hike 70km over mountains in memory of friend

Friends from Abbotsford and Langley to hike from Hope to Tulameen for Brook Morrison

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mother-daughter charged in 2017 torched-SUV killing in South Surrey now allowed contact

Judge grants Manjit Kaur Deo permission to connect with Inderdeep Kaur Deo through a lawyer

Most Read