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THE DUEL

Corrigan defending Burnaby's interests 0

By Laila Yuile, The Duel

Kinder Morgan's planned upgrades to the 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline include the reactivation of another pipe under Hinton and adding a new pumping station to the existing one west of town.

Kinder Morgan's planned upgrades to the 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline include the reactivation of another pipe under Hinton and adding a new pumping station to the existing one west of town.

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Say what you will about Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan's refusal to allow Kinder Morgan to conduct testing on city owned lands, but I predict his bold actions are setting the bar high for other municipal leaders across the province in similar situations. Even speaking in the most general terms, the issues of pipelines is a divisive one impacting not only municipalities, but families and friendships as people take opposing views.

What is unique about Mayor Derek Corrigan’s opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline project is that he hasn’t taken the wait-and-see approach popular with many politicians delicately straddling pointy fence posts to avoid offending potential voters. He has instead taken a firm stand on what he believes are the best interests of his community, and the global community at large.

His actions also highlight a serious and much bigger problem facing communities all over the province. When contentious projects under provincial or federal jurisdictions are proposed in or through a community that has no jurisdiction to stop it, what are municipal leaders supposed to do?

To read Brent Stafford's response, click here.

In my opinion, this isn’t just a duel about whether or not Kinder Morgan should be allowed to test on city owned land, this is about whether or not municipalities have enough veto power on these kinds of projects – and it’s not just Burnaby dealing with this either.

The cities of Surrey, White Rock and Delta are all facing the strong likelihood of an increase in coal trains right through their communities despite significant opposition, and have little say in what other kinds of dangerous goods are being transported right through residential neighborhoods on those same rail lines. While communities have the right to give input and register official opposition to any projects under review, in the end they hold little power to stop them.

That brings us right back to Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan, who has taken on the role of playing David to Kinder Morgan’s deep-pocketed Goliath. The federal government can make all the noise, and all the new rules it wants, it means little without enforcement and oversight. Both are issues with which the feds have a sketchy history.

Municipalities need to be given more regulatory oversight and input on projects like Kinder Morgan, but until they are, Mayor Derek Corrigan is wielding the only stone he has in refusing access to the Goliath Kinder Morgan.

 

 

 

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