Photo: flickr/Mark Klotz

Kinder Morgan’s as-yet-unapproved Trans Mountain pipeline has hit the heart of Metro Vancouver residents, academics, and First Nations.

In the past week, over 60 protesters have been charged with civil disobedience pursuant to a court ordered injunction given by the B.C. Supreme Court. The protests on Burnaby Mountain did not come out of nowhere. Here is timeline of the NEB and legal decisions that have precipitated the current protests:

December 16, 2013:  Facilities application made for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline to the National Energy Board consisting of 1,150 km oil (193 km of existing pipeline and 987 km of new) pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.

January 15, 2014 to February 12, 2014: Application process begins for participation at the hearing.

April 2014: National Energy Board consisting of a three-board panel issued a Hearing Order to review the application in a 15-month review process to be completed by July 2, 2015 when the board will release its Report. The NEB approved 400 applications for intervener status, and 1,250 individuals were given commenter status.

June 20, 2014: Trans Mountain responds to the NEB on their preferred route for delivery lines to run through Burnaby Mountain, stating they required additional studies to be completed by December 1, 2014.

July 25, 2014: Trans Mountain applied to the National Energy Board for an interpretation to allow access to Burnaby property without the city’s consent. The NEB granted Trans Mountain access without consent on August 19, 2014. 

August 19, 2014: NEB Ruling No. 28 interpreted para 73(a) of NEB Act as allowing Trans Mountain access to Burnaby lands without the city’s consent, subject to compliance with the bylaws. Conservation area access was blocked to City of Burnaby staff by Trans Mountain.

September 2, 2014: Trans Mountain diverted traffic and obstructed roads, which the City of Burnaby argued contravened their bylaws. Trans Mountain also entered Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, without the consent of Burnaby, to cut down approximately six mature trees and seven wildlife trees in order to carry out an studies and assessments for an alternate pipeline route. The City of Burnaby issued Orders to Cease By-Law Contraventions.

September 3, 2014: Trans Mountain applied for an access order as well as orders directing and forbidding Burnaby from enforcing their bylaws. NEB Order 40 determined, on the issue of constitutional jurisdiction, that Burnaby’s bylaws were “inoperative or inapplicable.” Trans Mountain gave a document of intention to resume work on October 29, 2014 to the City of Burnaby.

September 17, 2014: B.C. Supreme Court dismissed an application for an interlocutory injunction by Burnaby in favour of Trans Mountain. It was decided that the harm suffered by Trans Mountain exceeded that of the direct cost incurred by the delay, adding up at $5,643,000. The project is expected to bring $586,600,000 in revenue for the Province.

October 16, 2014: City of Vancouver v NEB and Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC, a three-judge panel consisting of Nadon, Trudel, and Web JA, summarily dismissed the application for leave to the Federal Court of Appeal with costs and without reasons. The City of Vancouver asked that the Federal Court of Appeal to review the decision of the NEB the upstream and downstream effects in the pipeline proposal review, which was rejected by the NEB in July.

 October 23, 2014: NEB Ruling No 40 ordered pursuant to para 73(a) of the National Energy Board Act that the City of Burnaby comply with the act permitting temporary access to the Trans Mountain site and forbids Burnaby from denying or obstructing the representatives in gaining temporary access. The NEB also decided that they had jurisdiction to determine the Burnaby bylaws to be inoperable and inapplicable in this case.

October 29, 2014: Work began at three locations (known as Barnet Marine Park Borehole 1, and a wooded area Borehole 2) on Burnaby Mountain to start geotechnical investigations by erecting and drilling rigs. Protesters blocked work to Borehole 1 and access to Borehole 2.

October 31, 2014: The City of Burnaby filed an application for leave at the Federal Court of Appeal challenging the constitutional jurisdiction of the B.C. superior court. The aim is to protect the Conservation Area on Burnaby Mountain and provide direction for the relief of municipalities whose bylaws are contravened as a result through the construction of pipelines.

November 14, 2014: Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC v Gold, where an application for an injunction was granted in favour of Trans Mountain by Justice Cullen at the B.C. Supreme Court. Trans Mountain was granted the limited and temporary right to enforce the authorization to complete their investigation on Burnaby Mountain.

November 17, 2014: RCMP issue court-directed injunction and enforcement order.

November 20, 2014:  Trans Mountain began preparing the worksites for geotechnical field studies. RCMP begins to arrest demonstrators, which is documented on Twitter.

November 21:  Trans Mountain worked through the night and drilling began at a test-hole location. Trans Mountain is expected to drill two six-inch test holes that are approximately 250 metres in depth for sampling.

November 22, 2014: Core samples were retrieved from the test-hole location.

November 23, 2014:  David Suzuki delivered speech on Burnaby Mountain to the RCMP. Protests expand at the Port of Seattle in solidarity with the Burnaby Mountain protestors with Tsleil-Waututh Nation First Nations Chief Reuben George speaking at the event.

Since November 21, over 60 protesters have been arrested, including SFU molecular biologist, Lynne Quarmby, and Campo Suzuki. Protests are continuing.


Christina Gray holds a Juris Doctor and Art History degree from the University of British Columbia. She is a proud member of Lax Kw’alaams Tsimshian Band, and is also of Dene, and Metis descent.  

Photo: flickr/Mark Klotz