On Monday, January 29th, Councillor Tetrault and I put forward the following motion after the January 21st incident at Parkland:
"THAT staff explore the feasibility of recovering the costs incurred by Burnaby taxpayers from Parkland refinery for the deployment of fire personnel in response to the January 21st incident."
This motion sought to use the very limited tools available to the City to seek accountability for Burnaby residents.
At any level of government, we fund emergency services for the purposes of keeping residents safe in the event of emergencies. Considering that the incident was a planned restart and therefore not a typical emergency, and that Parkland is responsible for the cost of their everyday operations, this motion seeks to recover the costs of sending 34 Burnaby firefighters and 8 operational trucks to the site, which represents a cost of approximately $30,000 of taxpayer dollars.
In this instance, and in the instances of other facilities in Burnaby like both the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Westridge terminal, there is a disproportionate burden being placed on Burnaby taxpayers perpetuated by a few singular operators. Even if you believed that these companies were providing a net benefit to the community, you cannot dispute that the benefits are distributed evenly while the risks are borne by Burnaby residents.
There are other impacts to Burnaby residents that the City of Burnaby, due to legislation restrictions, will never be able to achieve accountability for. This includes public health impacts, both of everyday emissions and of the spikes of the release of potentially carcinogenic substances benzene and butadiene on Sunday Jan 21.