The City of Burnaby is vowing to fight on after its request for a temporary injunction against Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project was rejected.
The proposed $5.4-billion project would twin an existing pipeline that runs from Alberta to B.C. and increase capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000.
Survey crews were on Burnaby Mountain earlier this month, where the city says they cut down 13 trees, in violation of its parks bylaw. That prompted the city to seek an injunction in B.C. Supreme Court.
A judge rejected the request Wednesday, a development Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan called "disappointing" but just one step in what will be a lengthy battle.
"There is a tremendous amount at stake here. Kinder Morgan's actions to date represent the beginning of years of destructive work they propose to undertake in Burnaby," he wrote in a statement.
"… We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that never happens, diligently pursuing what we believe represents the wishes of our citizens and is in the best interests of the city."
Carey Johannesson, a Trans Mountain spokesperson, said the company was "satisfied" with the decision. He said the National Energy Board has jurisdiction in the matter and has given its permission to undertake the work that is needed. Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (Trans Mountain) is operated by Kinder Morgan Canada and owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners.
Mr. Johannesson said in a statement that crews will await direction from the NEB before returning to the mountain.
Trans Mountain has filed an application with the board requesting an order that would forbid the city from denying or obstructing access. Trans Mountain, in its application, accused the city of physically blocking survey crews and intimidating a local, subcontracted tree-cutting crew with "threats of economic sanctions."
Sarah Kiley, an NEB spokesperson, could not say when a decision on Trans Mountain's request would be made, or when work could resume.
Ms. Kiley said in an interview that the city is arguing NEB rulings do not render its bylaws inoperable. The court has not yet had a full hearing on those claims, just the request for a temporary injunction.
Mr. Corrigan said the city believes "Canada's constitution should allow both levels of government power to regulate projects, and that local governments should have rights too."
"This will be an important issue as this project goes on," he said.
Neil Chantler, a lawyer representing a group of Burnaby citizens opposed to the pipeline expansion, said the group will be watching developments closely and plans to "stand vigil over the park [and] lawfully exercise their rights to be in the park and monitor the situation."
Mr. Chantler represents Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE). The group has intervener status in the NEB hearings on Trans Mountain.
Mr. Chantler, in an interview, said the group has about 500 members and will submit evidence on why the expansion would be a mistake.
Several municipalities, including Vancouver, have said they oppose the expansion. Vancouver has said the project would dramatically increase the number of oil tankers in Burrard Inlet and pose a risk to the city's $3.6-billion tourism industry.
The NEB must submit its final report to cabinet by early 2016.