BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – Camp Cloud may be dismantled, but that doesn’t mean all demonstrators have been cleared away from a long-standing protest outside a Kinder Morgan facility in Burnaby.
Opponents say the fight against the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline isn’t over.
Tzeporah Berman, best known for spear-heading the battle to save Vancouver Island’s Clayoquot Sound, now supports the Watch House, an Indigenous group vowing to keep being a strong presence on Burnaby Mountain.
“The elders have told us that the Watch House will remain until this project is cancelled. We’re all experiencing the fires and the floods and it is time for citizens to stand up and say enough is enough.”
She says the elders plan to set up fresh blockades come next week.
“I was in a meeting not too long ago where several people were saying, ‘We’re tired. We’ve organized so many marches and so many blockades. It’s exhausting. We want to go back to our lives’ and one of the Indigenous leaders said, ‘Really? You’re tired? This is our whole lives.'”
Berman describes the protesters as very dedicated people who aren’t going to stop opposing the project. “We’ve been able to successfully navigate our discussions around safety concerns with the City of Burnaby and our camp remains. We’re going to be resuming blockades on August 20th.”
Camp Cloud has grown since last November, when opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion parked a single trailer at the gates of the Kinder Morgan tank farm on Burnaby Mountain.
People have slowly been building and adding to the camp, including a two-storey structure which the City of Burnaby found to be a major hazard.
It has been seen as a major rallying point for those who oppose the pipeline, which is expected to more than triple the amount of bitumen and other oil products moving from Burnaby to Edmonton.
Protesters had been given until Sunday to comply with an injunction granted by the Supreme Court judge to the City of Burnaby, ordering protesters to remove all structures, shelters, and vehicles form the site.
As of Thursday afternoon, only five of the 11 people removed from Camp Cloud have court dates because the other six quickly agreed to leave.
“There was not requirement to release them on any type of conditions,” RCMP Corporal Daniela Panesar tells NEWS 1130. “They’re not facing any type of criminal action.”
Along with the structures, a sacred fire had been burning at the site since last year. It has now been put out because of the wildfire risk it posed.
“Because there’s a fire ban in effect and with the trees and a lot of brush in that area, with homes not too far from that, as well as the tank farms also not too far, that was the big concern there, as well,” David Zura with City News says.
He adds police were on hand while the camp was being dismantled.
“The roads heading in there are all still blocked,” he says. “They’ve got RCMP at all the entrances, as well as some police still milling about in the area as they continue to take down the rest of Camp Cloud.”
The federal government approved expansion of the pipeline in 2016 but environmental and B.C. government opposition led Kinder Morgan, the pipeline’s original owner, to announce it would back out of the project.
The federal government offered $4.5 billion to purchase the project and Kinder Morgan is presenting that offer to its shareholders, with expectation the sale will be approved later this month or in September. The purchase price, which includes the existing pipeline, pumping stations, rights of way, and the Westridge marine terminal in Burnaby, does not cover the construction costs of building the new pipeline, previously estimated at about $7.4 billion.
-With files from Dean Recksiedler, and Amelia John