For years, former Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan was a thorn in the side of Kinder Morgan and advocates for the expansion of Trans Mountain pipeline.
Then, in 2018, Corrigan was voted out of office and Kinder Morgan sold its pipeline to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the government of Canada.
The players have changed but, to the dismay of pipeline advocates, the song remains the same.
Burnaby’s new mayor, Mike Hurley, isn’t as vocal with his opposition as Corrigan was, but he’s still proving himself an impediment to the project.
“If it goes ahead, and I sincerely hope it doesn't, we have to have some serious discussions around safety and protecting our residents,” Hurley told the Canadian Press he told Trudeau over the weekend (June 1).
An expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline would triple the amount of diluted bitumen that flows from Edmonton to a port on the Burrard Inlet in Burnaby. After years of delays, the Trudeau government purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion last August.
Hurley, a former firefighter, told CP it’s his worry that Burnaby would take on most of the risk that a pipeline expansion would pose while Alberta would receive the bulk of its economic benefits.
"Any time you're dealing with flammable liquids like oil there's always a chance there can be a rupture of the tank, there can be a boilover of some sort within the tank that can cause really dangerous chemical reactions, not to mention fires that would come along with that,” he said.
More generally, Hurley also questioned the wisdom of major investments in a sector that’s already begun its slow death.
“The good old days of the oil industry are over and they need to start preparing for a new economy," he told CP.