For over a week now, we've been appalled over an environmental disaster that occurred in the Greater Vancouver area. Last Tuesday, July 24th, there was a huge oil spill in Burnaby, a suburb just east of Vancouver, on the south side of Burrard Inlet. Contractors doing sewer work hit a pipeline and a 12 meter geyser of crude oil sprayed roads, cars and homes and spilled into the ocean waters nearby. This is part of Kinder Morgan Canada's TransMountain Pipeline system, carrying crude oil from a pipeline terminal at the foot of Burnaby Mountain to a tanker-loading facility on the Inlet. (Can you see the oil tanks in the top photo below? - the disaster happened in the area to the left of them.)
Naturally this raised concerns for the health impacts on the residents and homes and environment in the immediate vicinity. Numerous concerns about the industry have also come up again for all of BC and its coastal waters.
Living on the other side of Burrard Inlet not far from the spill, we were worried about reports that the oil spill spread to North Shore beaches and parks, affecting marine life, First Nations' clam beds, and the Maplewood Mud Flats, a local saltmarsh and bird sanctuary.
Last Friday evening right after sunset, we went on one of our regular walks to Cates Park, situated right across the water from the disaster area. We checked out the beaches and its families of Canada geese. Though there was yellow tape tied across the beaches and posted warnings to stay off, our untrained eyes could not spot any evidence of oil. Looked like the cleanup crews had done a good job here and will continue to be busy for a while in many spots on this coast. Several families in Burnaby in the meantime are still dealing with the damage to their homes and gardens - what a terrifying experience. When it comes this close to home...