The National Energy Board (NEB) has reserved its decision on a notice of motion and constitutional question from Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC that if approved would enable construction to start on the Burnaby and Westridge marine terminals as part of its expansion project.
The company had gone to the board, citing delays in obtaining municipal permits from the City of Burnaby, a long-standing opponent of the project which just over a year ago received federal cabinet approval with 157 conditions.
“It [Burnaby’s planning process] is opaque, it is unreasonable and there is no end in sight,” Maureen Killoran, counsel for Trans Mountain, said Monday in final argument.
In June 2017, Trans Mountain submitted four Preliminary Plan Approvals (PPAs) to Burnaby in relation to terminal work, she said. To date, though, the city has failed to issue any of the outstanding approvals or to provide a reasonable explanation for the timeframe for their issuance, the board heard.
“Burnaby possesses all the necessary information to issue the PPAs but has failed to do so despite statements by Burnaby officials that a complex PPA will take six to eight weeks,” she said. “Surely the passage of 22 weeks since the June filing date is undisputed evidence of unreasonable delay.”
Burnaby also has suspended the process, pending the outcome of the hearing, which would result in another two months of delay, noted Killoran.