Protect the Planet Stop TMX, which gave tours to local residents and activists on Saturday, said many residents have been under-informed on the project.
“Once people see the extent of the work, including a 30-metre-wide path, they become more connected to the issue because it affects them directly,” Protect the Planet said in an email statement to the NOW. “They will lose green space (and) use of the forested greenway past Stoney Creek, and they will have construction vehicles and construction activity on their doorstep for months or years.”
The City of Burnaby is currently in a regulatory fight with Trans Mountain over the removal of more than 1,300 trees. The federal Crown corporation wants to circumvent the city’s tree removal permitting process, claiming unreasonable delays and citing the city’s opposition to tree removal and the project more generally. The city claims it has not caused any such delays, and the timeline demanded by Trans Mountain for approval was unreasonable.
“Many people think the pipeline goes through Alberta and some far reaches of B.C., and they don’t yet realize it will instead be right next to their homes here in Burnaby. This may have been acceptable 60 years ago when the pipeline route was put through a much less developed Burnaby, but it shouldn’t be acceptable now,” Protect the Planet said.
The group said it can be challenging to consider the impact of a project in its totality, but when looking at that impact at a more localized and personal level, it can become more clear.
“The takeaway for people on the tour is evident in their faces when we show them the ancient cedar tree slated for removal. Sometimes a huge project spanning thousands of kilometres can be summed up with a small removal tag on a cedar tree that has lived for over a 100 years that will be cut down in the coming weeks,” reads the group’s statement.
“Ultimately we hope people will be moved by the issue to the point they will want to join their neighbours and stand up against the pipeline expansion.”
The nearby Brunette River – which Stoney Creek flows into – has become the front line in a longstanding dispute between environmental activists and Trans Mountain, with work beginning in the area in December.