Contractors on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion were granted permission to begin tunnelling beneath Burnaby Mountain on Wednesday, and by Friday project opponents started new rounds of protests arguing for an end to it.
The group Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver planned a brief, visual protest on Friday afternoon, stringing banners across the Drummonds Walk trail overpass above Hastings Street.
“(We) really just want to remind the community that this work is going to be starting and that we still have an opportunity to stop it,” said group spokeswoman Alison Bodine, and that construction is proceeding without the approval of First Nations.
Trans Mountain, on Thursday, announced that a specialized boring machine had begun digging the four-metre diameter tunnel Wednesday, but without ceremony due to COVID-19 protocols.
The 122-metre-long machine, built by Herrenknecht in Germany, was transported to the site and assembled this spring to cut a 2.6-kilometre path through Burnaby Mountain, which the company said is expected to take about 200 days.
On May 17, the Canada Energy Regulator granted Trans Mountain permission to begin the tunnelling work, which the company said in a submission would be critical to meet an in-service date of late 2022.
Approved work, however, does not include pipe installation inside the tunnel nor connecting delivery pipes to facilities at Trans Mountain’s Westridge dock. Trans Mountain, in its submission, said it is still working through conditions in its permit so those tasks can commence.
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