May 16, 2022

On Saturday, May 7, the SFSS joined hundreds of people and dozens of organisations across the Lower Mainland to “HUG” the Burnaby Mountain and stand in solidarity against the Trans Mountain pipeline Expansion (TMX) project. The pipeline has been approved by the federal government despite not obtaining Free, Prior and Informed consent from all Indigenous Nations on whose territories the pipeline will go through. It is essential that SFU community members stand in solidarity with these Nations and Indigenous Land Defenders on the front lines as our university sits on unceded territories. 

The Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) Expansion project entails the twinning of an existing 69-year-old pipeline from Edmonton (Alberta) to Burnaby (British Columbia). The project is expected to triple the pipeline’s capacity to move diluted bitumen– from 300,000 barrels per day to an estimated 890,000 barrels per day. Additionally, 14 new tanks will be constructed bringing the total number of tanks to 26 on the same 1.89- acre tank farm site which is in close proximity to the SFU Burnaby campus.

Apart from the pipeline expansion not being economically feasible to the taxpayer, it poses extreme safety concerns for everyone on the mountain. The Burnaby Fire Department Chief has said that the Fire department does not have the infrastructure in place to stop a fire of such magnitude if it were to occur. In addition, it could take up to 6 hours for a coordinated emergency response with the Trans Mountain firefighting team as they are currently located in Kamloops with no mutual agreement between their team and the Burnaby Fire department. 

With the doubling of tanks on the TMX tank farm (with limited space in between) and rising summer temperatures as a result of climate change, the risk of a fire is very concerning. These concerns coupled with the probability of oil spills and the fact that those on SFU Burnaby campus and members of the UniverCity community would be physically trapped on top of the mountain should there be a fire as there is only one intersection that goes up/down the mountain and the tank farm happens to be right there. 

Despite the urgency of taking action on opposing this pipeline, SFU has still not made any public stance against the expansion project, acknowledged its potential consequences or  raised these safety concerns with its community about the risks undertaken whenever they come up the mountain to campus everyday. 

This is why the coming together of students, staff, faculty, organisations and the entire community on Saturday May 7th was so important- to show the power of community and solidarity, that we will protect one another and not go down without a fight! 

Special thanks to Protect the Planet- Stop TMX and its partners for organising this event and reaching out to SFSS to co-organize! Another thanks to our amazing volunteers and staff who made it possible. 

If you would like to stay involved with more actions and initiatives such as this, you can get involved with the SFSS advocacy work including joining the Equity and Sustainability Committee! Just click here to apply. Sign on to our campaign by emailing your representative or check out these on and off organisations who would love to hear from you: