Dr Tim Takaro films as police remove Bill Winder from an anti-Trans Mountain pipeline expansion tree-sit in the Brunette River area of Burnaby in late September. (Dustin Godfrey / Burnaby Beacon)

Anti-Trans Mountain action still yet to come in Burnaby

The police dismantling a long-standing tree-sit in the Brunette River isn't the last of the pipeline's opposition, Dr Tim Takaro says

By Dustin Godfrey | October 15, 2021 |5:00 am

Weeks after the RCMP disassembled the tree forts blocking Trans Mountain work around Brunette River, at least one activist says the fight in the area isn’t over.

Activists with Protect the Planet Stop TMX and other groups held some level of occupation of trees in the area for nearly 14 months, starting in August 2020.

The tree-sits were part of an ongoing opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, with activists saying Canada cannot meet its greenhouse-gas reduction targets while also building the pipeline.

The original tree-sit was dismantled by police in December last year.

But it was quickly replaced with another, which was later joined by a second tree fort. Activists then added two more “sky pods,” informal tree-sits not involving wooden structures, to the area.

The sky pods were taken down in the weeks shortly after the Sept 20 federal election, and the two formal tree-sits were then dismantled by police in short order.

But Dr Tim Takaro, a physician and SFU public health professor and one of the lead tree sitters in the area, said efforts to stop the pipeline won’t stop in the area—or beyond.

“We’re definitely planning stuff. There’s plenty of pipeline route that has not been destroyed and is worth protecting. … We have work planned all along the route,” Takaro said.

“We have several legal actions going, and we need to see how they fair through it as well.”

A ‘special place in the city’

Takaro noted there’s plenty of Trans Mountain work being done in sections throughout the province.

“What that means on the ground for us is that, all along the route, there [are] some pristine trees, big trees, even, and plenty of parkland, and also owners, landowners, that have not gone over to the dark side,” Takaro said.

That being said, he added that actions in the Brunette River area aren’t about to die out, calling it a “special place in the city.”

“Everybody who ever goes there wants to protect [it]. It has one of the last remaining Chinook [salmon] runs in the city,” he said.

“That pipeline is absolutely threatening it. You just have to walk in there and see how they’ve absolutely destroyed the riparian zone of Holmes Creek, and they’re preparing to do the same thing at Lost Creek and then Stoney Creek,” Takaro said.

“This is an abomination on the treasure that we have in this city.”

Takaro declined to comment on what specifically is in the works for the area, however, saying it would not be “very strategic to do at this time.”

“But I can assure you that we are as strong [as], if not stronger than, ever, and we are going to block this pipeline.”

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Dustin Godfrey

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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