And more responses to our council byelection questionnaire
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Good morning, Burnaby!

My cat should be in theatre. Not only does he deserve an Oscar for his leading role as Least-Fed Boy (his food bowl is always at least half-full), his attitude toward me sleeping or working can be described with the old improv rule: "Yes, and..." Yes, you’re sleeping, and play with me. Yes, you’re working, and feed me. Yes, you’re sleeping, and I’m going for a jog across your body. Yes, you’re working, and you should be sitting on the couch where I can easily curl up on your lap. Yes, you’re sleeping, and I’m singing songs of rebellion. Yes, you’re working, and I desperately want to know what’s going on in the hall outside the apartment.

But Hobbes, the de-facto bureau chief of this apartment, has friends in high places, so what Hobbes wants, Hobbes gets.

Dustin Godfrey, reporter

Photo of two young reporters standing side by side smiling.
Burnaby byelection candidates Scott Van Denham and Teresa Rossiello. 📷 Submitted
Byelection Buzz - Scott Van Denham and Teresa Rossiello
The Burnaby byelection race is underway with advanced continuing until June 19. General voting day is on Saturday, June 26. There are 14 candidates running in this byelection and there are 2 seats to be filled. In order for readers to get to know them and their platforms better, we sent out a questionnaire for candidates to fill out. We'll be featuring the responses in our daily newsletters and on social media leading up to the election.

Today, we're featuring Burnaby Green Party candidate Teresa Rossiello and Independent candidate Scott Van Denham

Note: These Q&As are shortened previews of the full versions which you can find on our Facebook page. Find Rossiello's full Q&A here and Van Denham's here.

What motivated you to run in this byelection?

➡️ Rossiello: Growing up, conversation around my family’s dinner table was about politics and current events. I learned that the purpose of government is to provide services to people and make their lives better. Governments are supposed to knit our communities together and represent us all, not capitalize on division and self-interest. Around the age of 12, I took an interest not just in politics but being a politician. For a few years, I have been Chairperson of the Task Force to End Homelessness. Burnaby’s evolving response to homelessness has come from organizations in the Task Force, and we strive to keep a focus on the government’s imperative to provide services, to make people’s lives better. I’m a pragmatist working to make my community better, but the pandemic reminded me that I’m still an idealistic 12-year-old. I’m motivated to run to make this world better for my children and my community.

➡️ Van Denham: Burnaby Council is currently made up of homeowners. There’s nothing wrong with that, except that they’re over-represented. I’m a life-long renter and transit user, and from these experiences, I possess a perspective that I believe is really needed right now. Also, we have an opportunity to help set the stage for the issues that will be at the forefront of council’s agenda for the next four-year term. Housing, accessibility and the future of the tank farms and refineries will all become increasingly important over the next few years.

Homelessness in the city is on the rise as numbers from the most recent homelessness count show an 80% increase in folks who are unhoused in the city, compared to 2017. What are your proposed steps to help vulnerable Burnaby residents find housing?

➡️ Rossiello: As the co-coordinator of the Burnaby 2020 homeless count, I want to let people know that the homeless population was grossly under-counted. The youth count came back as zero, but we know there are homeless youth in Burnaby. We know this from high schools and youth centres. The Task Force to End Homelessness in Burnaby estimates the real number of homeless to be 230% higher than what was counted.
It takes time and work to connect people with the services and housing they need, which is why shelter space and modular housing is so important. Burnaby is saddled with an ineffective provincial response. We need to start providing mental health services if we want to address homelessness. That’s where we start on this complicated issue.

➡️ Van Denham:
First, we need to require density bonus transfers to nearby locations so that new rental housing can be built before new condo tower construction displaces any current residents, who would then pay the same rent as before. Then we need to expand the availability of rental housing at all levels, but especially for those earning less than $40,000/yr. Cities like Burnaby can now make use of new zoning provisions that allow, say, one side of Hastings in Capitol Hill to be zoned rental-only. This means any developer wanting to build there has to build for rental units only, and that a minimum percentage of units that would be set at below-market rates. We also need to increase the housing share of the Community Benefit Bonus Reserve to at least 40% so that we can assemble land for affordable rentals, coops and co-housing in partnerships with senior governments and non-profits.

In what ways would you champion diversity and inclusion as a city council member and in your proposed policies?

➡️ Rossiello: I’m a Gen-Xer who identifies with many millennial values while raising two Gen-Z children. We need to be sure that governments make room for young people in decision-making. I don’t see my values represented on Council, and a lot of young people feel the same. We need to move towards values like environmentalism, sustainability, livability and affordability. We need to ensure that our children and grandchildren have a place to live. Homes aren’t a luxury. Having children isn’t a luxury. In 20 years, Burnaby needs to be a place where my children can live, and in 40 years, their children too.  

➡️ Van Denham: I would focus on two areas. One would be to see the City strive achieve the principle of accessibility for all – updating our civic buildings and spaces so that anyone, regardless of physical challenge, can enjoy or work in these buildings and places. Also, we need to do a better job of acknowledging the Indigenous communities that have called Burnaby their home since time immemorial. How? A starting point would be meaningful dialogue. In 2016, Victoria started City Family, a process where members of council and Victoria’s Indigenous communities would gather for informal, open-ended discussions. If you remember the removal of the John A Macdonald statue from Victoria City Hall it started with Indigenous group members expressing their discomfort with walking past that symbol coof colonization to have a meaningful talk about reconciliation. We don’t know what we may learn from each other until we start to listen.

➡️ Find full candidate Q&As on our Facebook page.

These interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.
Photo of two young reporters standing side by side smiling.
This image shows the new oil storage tanks being built relative to the existing tanks on Burnaby Mountain. 📷 Trans Mountain
Could the 'Big One' set off a fire at the tank farm?
One UniverCity resident is concerned 6 if the 1953 tanks could catch fire, sending toxic smoke billowing into his neighbourhood

A Burnaby Mountain resident says he’s concerned new data indicating a greater chance of a "Big One" level earthquake in the Vancouver area in the coming decades means his community is at greater risk of a massive fire at the Trans Mountain tank farm.

Karl Perrin, who lives in the UniverCity neighbourhood, said he and others want SFU to take a harder stance on the existing tanks, 6 of which are of particular concern. A fire in the event of an earthquake, Perrin told Burnaby Beacon, would be devastating for his wife, who has a smoke allergy.

"She just starts coughing really hard with any kind of smoke," Perrin said. "I’m concerned that her and people like her, with asthma, would die, basically."

And he said the emergency management plan from the university is confusing.

"They said, ‘If there’s an earthquake, go outside,’ and ‘If there’s toxic smoke or fumes, then stay inside,’" Perrin said.

Canada’s 6th modelling of earthquake hazards was released in 2020, and it added 4 previously unaccounted-for "complete-rupture earthquakes" to its seismological history, on top of the 18 already known.

Those extra seismic events drop the average time between earthquakes by a full 100 years, from 532 years to 432 years.

"The Cascadia updates increase the seismic hazard from the Juan de Fuca segment to southern British Columbia by about 8% relative to CanadaSHM5 [the 2015 5th generation seismic hazard model of Canada], for all periods and probabilities," reads a report on the 6th generation model presented to the World Conference on Earthquake Engineering last September in Japan.

The model refers to 3 sources for seismic activity in the region, including the most well-known Juan de Fuca source, along with the Explorer source to the north of that and the Winona source to the north of Explorer. The latter 2 sources typically generate earthquakes of magnitude around 7.5 to 7.7, according to the report.

But the Juan de Fuca source is where the Big One is expected to come from, with a magnitude 9 earthquake from that source in 1700—321 years ago.

That puts the region just over 110 years from the next major earthquake if one’s looking at averages. But that also means the likelihood of an earthquake before then is also higher than previously thought.

According to the report, the seismic hazard estimates have seen "significant changes" relative to the 2015 model. Southwestern BC saw higher hazard estimates for a number of reasons, including changing ground-motion models and the increase in the Juan de Fuca activity rate.

So what does this have to do with the tank farm?

It’s about the design of the older tanks, constructed in 1953, when the Trans Mountain pipeline was first built, according to Gordon Dunnett, a retired engineer, who spoke to the Burnaby Now in 2019.

On top of that, a group of 4 more retired engineers, who form the Concerned Professional Engineers Society, published their own report last September, following Dunnett’s research.

Together, their research points to the risk that an earthquake could cause the external floating roof tanks to experience sloshing, causing the floating roofs to come into contact with the sides of the tanks and create sparks, exposing the tanks to a fire risk.

Originally, there were 9 tanks, including 6 external floating roof tanks and 3 internal floating roof tanks. It’s the external floating roof tanks that the engineers have raised concerns about.

In an email statement to the Beacon, Trans Mountain stressed that its facilities are designed to "industry best practices and meet the most stringent safety standards," adding that the facilities get inspected every 5 years. The facilities also include early detection and fire suppression systems, operational procedures to reduce risks, training exercises, site-specific fire plans, regular Canada Energy Regulator inspections and compliance with international standards.

"In more than 65 years of operation, Trans Mountain has not had a storage tank fire or structural incident with any of its tanks. Although tank fires and seismic tank incidents worldwide are extremely rare, our prevention and emergency management programs are an integral part of keeping our terminals operating safely," a Trans Mountain spokesperson wrote.

Since the terminal was built, the Crown corporation said upgrades have been completed, including at the Burnaby terminal to address potential earthquake-related hazards. That includes the reconstruction of the terminal’s secondary containment berms, upgrades to the fire protection system, and replacement of piping connections on "a number of tanks."

Trans Mountain added the "low-broad" design of the tanks "means their steel construction makes them flexible enough to absorb earthquake shockwaves," with containment berms to catch any oil that may spill in case of a pipefitting leak.

But "the serious risk is right now," Dunnett told the Now, noting that the risk assessment by Kinder Morgan, the previous owner of the pipeline and expansion project, didn’t take into account the issue of oil sloshing in the tanks.

The Concerned Professional Engineers group wrote that there has been a history of "tank failures in 7 earthquakes between 1964 and 2011 and 5 serious fires ignited during these earthquakes."

That includes the 1999 Kocaeli earthquake in Turkey, a 7.4 magnitude shake that sparked a 5-day oil tank fire and destroyed 30 tanks.

Earlier this year, the CER conducted a fire drill at the facilities, saying the company was able to respond to a fire in 2-and-a-half hours—"well within" the 4-hour goal. However, Perrin said he doesn’t feel comforted by that, and Burnaby’s fire chief has shared similar concerns about tanks burning unhindered for that long.

With 14 new storage tanks being built with earthquake preparedness in mind, Perrin said he wants, more than anything, for the 6 external floating roof tanks decommissioned. That would still be a net gain in storage capacity for Trans Mountain, as its new pipeline triples transport capacity.

"We would like those 6 tanks decommissioned or kept empty or demolished," he said. "Because that would break the chain from earthquake to smoke coming up to the campus and UniverCity."

—By Dustin Godfrey


Passes required to visit some BC parks this summer: The province is continuing a pilot project from last summer that requires British Columbians to reserve free passes for 5 of BC's busiest parks this summer. Starting next Tuesday, you'll need a day pass for Joffre Lakes, Mount Robson, Stawamus Chief, Garibaldi, and Golden Ears Parks. Reserve your pass here.

💲Report says fossil fuel subsidies have doubled under BC NDP
: A new report from climate advocacy group says John Horgan's NDP government has spent $1.3 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in the past year, up 8.3% from 2019-20. The group said in 2020-21, the NDP gave out nearly 5 times more in subsidies than what it received in oil and gas royalties, which was about $282 million—and claims the subsidies are a "major reason" that BC didn't reach its climate targets this year.

🏠 Community Living BC isn't monitoring home-sharing providers properly
: That's the conclusion from BC's auditor general in a report released Tuesday. Home-sharing is a form of residential care for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, where the person lives in the provider's home to receive care. The audit found CLBC wasn't consistently monitoring outcomes for people in care, or collecting clear data on its monitoring or critical incident responses. There are about 4,200 people in BC who live in home-sharing providers' homes.

  • 108 new cases. Total 146,561
  • 0 new deaths. Total 1,734
  • 1,496 active cases (-41). 139 people in hospital (+3), 39 in ICU (-3).
  • Rolling 7-day average of new cases is down to 123.
  • 76.1% of people 18+/74.4% of people 12+ have had their 1st vaccine dose.
  • 53 new cases in Fraser Health (49% of BC).

🗳️ Byelection town hall - Want to know where the city council candidates stand on the issue of climate? Make sure to register for this town hall being put on by Force of Nature next Tuesday at 6pm. So far, 9 of the 14 candidates have said they'll be there.

🍛 The best Indian in town - is hands-down at Agra Tandoori! This local gem has not one, but TWO locations in Burnaby: one on Canada Way, and one at Market Crossing. Trust us when we say you have to try the palak paneer and channa masala. And don't forget to leave room for the most delicious gulab jamun!

🌀 DIY dyeing - Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre is putting on beginner's workshops this weekend in the art of aizome, a traditional Japanese method of dyeing fabrics with indigo dye. You can purchase material to dye or bring your own. Tickets available here.
The sublime waters at Barnet Marine Park, with a sunset to match 🌅. 📷 @pomophotos
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