By Hina Alam
The Canadian Press
Vancouver: Environment and Climate Change Canada has ordered a halt to construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline through a forest in Burnaby, B.C., until the end of bird nesting season.
The department said the order was issued following an enforcement officer’s visit to the site prompted by complaints that nests of the Anna’s hummingbird and other migratory birds were being damaged.
“Given that it is nesting season, migratory birds are particularly vulnerable at this time,” it said in an emailed statement.
“Cutting vegetation and trees or carrying out other disruptive activities such as bulldozing or using chainsaws and heavy machinery in the vicinity of active nests will likely result in disturbance or destruction of those nests.”
It said construction is paused until Aug. 20.
The $12.6-billion expansion project is designed to triple the capacity of the existing pipeline between Edmonton and the shipping terminal in Burnaby to about 890,000 barrels per day of products, including diluted bitumen, lighter crudes and refined fuel.
Sarah Ross of the Community Nest Finding Network said the group began noticing hummingbirds in the Burnaby area in February. Anna’s hummingbirds are some of the first birds to nest and arrive as early as January, she noted.
“In the small area that we’re monitoring, I’d say there’s probably a dozen nests,” Ross said in an interview. Her group is watching a third of the area pipeline builders have been told to avoid.
“We’ve been really surprised at the density of hummingbird nests in this area. It’s a really rich habitat for them. It has all the things that they need _ close to clean water and has all the blossoms of the salmonberry.”
The group reported the presence of nests in the area to Trans Mountain and federal and provincial environmental authorities, she said.
Environment and Climate Change Canada said it issued orders following two on-site inspections.