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'We are doing the right thing:' Protesters dig in at anti-pipeline camp

Last Updated Jul 20, 2018 at 8:40 pm EST

BURNABY, B.C. – Protesters at an anti-pipeline camp in Burnaby, B.C., say they are ready to defy an eviction notice handed out from the city.

The City of Burnaby issued a 72-hour notice to those occupying “Camp Cloud” on Wednesday, but protesters said in a news release issued Friday that three days wasn’t enough time to comply with concerns raised over safety.

The release says Camp Cloud will not be evicted and that the notice was wrongly issued, without adequate consideration of a recent court decision or consultation with camp residents.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled in March that both the camp and a nearby watch house could remain in place in response to a court injunction filed by Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd., the company behind the Trans Mountain expansion project.

“We are doing the right thing, raising awareness about the collectively deadly impacts of the pipeline,” camp resident Elauna Boutwell said in the Friday release.

Demonstrators are angry over the expansion of the pipeline between Alberta and B.C. that would triple its capacity to carry bitumen destined for export. In May, the federal government announced it would buy the pipeline in an effort to see the expansion completed.

The city issued the eviction notice because there are concerns about safety and how the footprint of the site has grown to include a two-storey house and showers, city manager Lambert Chu has said.

Chu said Friday the city is discussing legal options, but he wouldn’t say which options are on the table.

“If the compliance order is not met, then we will take the appropriate actions within the rule of law … to proceed with removal of the illegal structures and facilities, because they have to go,” he said.

The city hopes the campers will pack up on Saturday, but at the same time it respects their right to protest, said Chu.

“We have to balance all these things. We don’t want to handle it in a very confrontational way.”

City staff have been in contact with the protesters and as of Friday have set up a meeting with them, he added.

Protesters say the evacuation notice has a list of demands, including removing their sacred ceremonial fire and all the dwellings they need in order to continue their work.

“If we want fewer forest fires in the future due to global warming and fossil-fuelled climate destabilization, we need to protect this sacred fire and all that it represents,” the release said.

The notice is set to expire Saturday morning, and instead of moving out, protesters say they’ll hold a news conference to relay their side of the story.

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