VANCOUVER – A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has granted Trans Mountain an interim injunction aimed at preventing anti-pipeline activists from protesting construction at two terminals in Burnaby.
The company listed 15 individuals, along with John Doe, Jane Doe and “persons unnamed” in a notice of civil claim as part of its request to restrict protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities.
Justice Kenneth Affleck agreed with that condition Friday and said the injunction will last until Wednesday, when a hearing on the matter will continue.
Casey Leggett, a lawyer for one of the named people, had challenged the 50-metre request, saying that would cover a road near the Westridge Marine Terminal, where people should be allowed to walk or protest peacefully without fearing they’ll be arrested.
“It’s going too far, it’s arbitrary,” Leggett said at a hearing where the judge warned applauding protesters to keep quiet.
Kyle Friesen, a lawyer representing the RCMP, said the force doesn’t want to squelch anyone’s right to protest, but a restricted area is needed to create a barrier so gatherings are peaceful, lawful and safe, especially if trees are falling to clear land for construction.
Calgary-based Trans Mountain said in the notice of claim that protesters have obstructed roads it requires to access the Westridge Marine Terminal in order to build a new dock complex with three berths.
It said activists have also obstructed workers at the Burnaby Terminal, where it plans to install 14 new storage tanks, an enhanced storm water treatment system as well as clear trees, for which it has received approvals as part of a $7.4-billion expansion of an existing pipeline that is operated by Kinder Morgan and runs between Edmonton and Metro Vancouver.
Protesters have caused delays and financial harm to Trans Mountain nearly every day since the end of November with a goal to stop the entire project, the company said.
Leggett wanted the judge to adjourn Friday’s hearing until Wednesday, saying Trans Mountain filed a late application, giving him and a lawyer for another individual little time to review affidavits filed by the company.
He suggested that while Trans Mountain has cited costly delays due to blockades for wanting a hasty hearing, the aim was to bring the matter to court before Saturday, when an Indigenous-led march against the pipeline expansion is planned in Burnaby.
Maureen Killoran, a lawyer for Trans Mountain, said the application is based on time-sensitive work being done at the Westridge Marine Terminal before migratory birds that could use the area return in the spring.
The City of Burnaby and the City of Vancouver have opposed the project, which would triple the capacity of the pipeline and increase tanker traffic seven-fold.
Ruth Leibik, who is named in the notice of civil claim, said she decided to start protesting at the Westridge Marine Terminal a few months ago.
“The people who are named with me in this injunction are people of great conscience, people who are aware, peaceful, and people who are standing up for what our courts and what our politicians have not been able to stand up for,” she said.
Leibik said she will be a marshal in the anti-pipeline march on Saturday, when she said people from across North America are expected to gather in Burnaby to oppose what she called “an atrocity.”
On the same day, groups including Rally for Resources, Generation Squeezed and Rally for Resources are planning a pro-pipeline rally in Vancouver.
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