Poll finds rising opposition in B.C. to Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline proposal
Opposition to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has risen since the beginning of the year, a poll suggests. Opposition has grown by six points since January (from 42 per cent to 49 per cent opposed) with women and young people (18 to 34) most opposed, according to a the Insights West poll released Wednesday.
Forty-two per cent favoured the project and 10 per cent weren’t sure.
Among women, 56 per cent opposed the proposed expansion, while 72 per cent of young people opposed it.
Support is highest among men (52 per cent) and British Columbians 55 and over (55 per cent).
In the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, most residents (51 per cent) are opposed to the project, while roughly two-in-five (38 per cent) support it, the poll found.
As well, 82 per cent of British Columbians are aware of the proposed expansion, with 77 per cent describing themselves as “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar” with the project.
“There was a moment at the start of the year when more people were coming on board (Kinder Morgan) as something that was positive,” Mario Canseco, vice-president of public affairs at Insights West, said on Wednesday.
He said the poll shows a “significant shift” in the way British Columbians are analyzing the project with opposition among women increasing markedly.
As for the strong opposition among the young, Conseco said: “There’s always been a level of connectivity from the youngest of B.C. residents on issues related to the environment. And with something like this, the numbers are really off the chart.”
However, Canseco noted there’s a lot of people still on the fence and that they could move.
“I would argue (the rising opposition) has to do with more activity at the municipal level. Both Burnaby Mayor (Derek) Corrigan and Vancouver Mayor (Gregor) Robertson have talked about this within the guidelines of climate change. How will this help us meet our targets down the road?”
Both cities are outspoken in their opposition to the Kinder Morgan proposal.
The survey was released as Kinder Morgan considers seeking orders from the National Energy Board to access land to test a new tunnel route under Burnaby Mountain for its pipeline, a sign of how contentious the $5.4-billion project is in Burnaby.
The company, which said the City of Burnaby is preventing it from going onto city lands and doing the necessary geotechnical work to determine if tunnelling is possible, proposes to triple capacity of the pipeline to nearly 900,000 barrels a day by building a second pipeline along a similar route. It would open new markets in Asia for Alberta oilsands bitumen.
Corrigan said this week that Burnaby would fight an order with the NEB, adding that the city has made it clear it opposes the pipeline.
In May, Vancouver joined a long list of municipal governments unhappy with the proposal to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline.
The online study conducted from May 22 to May 28 among 771 British Columbians with an expected margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.