Social media posts suggest anti-pipeline activists are determined to continue blockades at two terminals in Burnaby, B.C., as they cause more irreparable harm to the Trans Mountain project, says a lawyer seeking a permanent injunction against the protests.
Maureen Killoran told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck on Wednesday that activists have conspired to recently intensify blockades with the aim to disrupt construction projects at the Burnaby Mountain and Westbridge Marine terminals before a mid-March deadline to meet environmental standards.
Affleck granted a temporary injunction on Friday, saying it would expire Wednesday and restrict protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities where protests began last November.
Killoran said Trans Mountain has the permits and leases required to carry on construction but protesters have put their own safety at risk because they often show up at 5 a.m. on icy roads to block vehicles.
“It is undisputed that Trans Mountain has incurred substantial costs,” she said, adding the protesters’ goal has been to cause so much financial harm through delays that the company is forced to abandon the $7.4-billion project that would twin an existing pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.
“We have every indication based on the activities of the blockaders, based on what they’re saying on Facebook and other social media sites and to the media, that this will continue,” she said. “They have made a conscious choice to carry on.”
Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, listed 15 people, along with John Doe, Jane Doe, and “unnamed persons” in a notice of claim asking for an injunction for a project that the federal government approved in November 2016.
“They are individuals who say pipelines are bad, oil and gas is bad, here are all the hazards that are associated with it. And with respect that’s the job of the National Energy Board and that job has been done. It took three years to do it,” she said to snickers from a packed courtroom.
Protesters are causing private and public nuisance by blocking roads and jumping onto vehicles, requiring Trans Mountain to ship workers in by water but blockades have appeared at marinas as well, Killoran said.
Bina Salimath, one of the 15 people named in the notice of civil claim, said outside court that she will carry on with blockades even if a permanent injunction is granted because protesters anticipated that would happen.
“Kinder Morgan is doing it for its stakeholders,” she said. “I’m doing it for my stakeholders, which is the community, so I will continue on with the work.”
Source: Canadian Press/CBC