Burnaby's legal challenge to Trans Mountain pipeline dismissed by Supreme Court

Aug 23 2018, 6:29 pm

The City of Burnaby’s efforts to block the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project have been dismissed by the Supreme Court of Canada.

In a notice posted by the country’s top court on Thursday morning, it is stated that “the application for leave to appeal is dismissed with costs to the respondents, the Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC and the Attorney General of Alberta.”

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Burnaby had been hoping to appeal a ruling made by a lower court that allowed the pipeline to bypass a bylaw process that had been stalling construction of the project.

According to a summary released by the Supreme Court, the National Energy Board had found that Burnaby’s reluctance in approving preliminary planning approval applications had been “unreasonable.”

“The Board found that Burnaby’s bylaw review process was unreasonable, and caused unreasonable delay,” the summary from the Supreme Court read.

“[The Board] relieved Trans Mountain from obtaining preliminary plan approvals and permits under Burnaby’s tree bylaw by declaring those bylaws to be inapplicable to the pipeline work at the terminal.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who has been a vocal supporter of the pipeline, expressed her joy over the decision in a tweet on Thursday.

Things were not as cheery on the other side of the provincial border.

“We’re disappointed that the courts seem unwilling to review decisions made by the National Energy Board that hamper municipal jurisdiction,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan in a statement from the City of Burnaby following the decision.

“We think the question of whether federal projects such as this should expect immunity from municipal regulation is an important one – and even more important now that the Federal Government has bought this flawed project.

“Burnaby is not going away. We intend to continue to oppose this project with all legal means available to us, and will be continuing with our other legal challenges.”

Included in the statement was a list of pending court challenges that Burnaby still has hopes for, including: a challenge to the National Energy Board decision through the Federal Court of Appeal; a Judicial Review from the Federal Court of Appeal regarding a Detailed Route Hearing decision made by a different National Energy Board panel; the Westridge Line Relocation being heard by the National Energy Board; and a BC Reference case that will be heard by the BC Court of Appeal in 2019.