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Man arrested after climbing tree to protest Trans Mountain pipeline in B.c.


BURNABY, B.C. — Mounties have arrested a 71-year-old grandfather who defied a court injunction by climbing a towering tree in Metro Vancouver to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline.

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., said Terry Christenson was taken into custody Tuesday for prohibiting a court order preventing demonstrations within five metres of the Westridge Marine Terminal.

"Due to the nature of this demonstration, the Lower Mainland Integrated Emergency Response Team was engaged and their experience in high-angle rescues was utilized in order to ensure the demonstrator could be safely arrested," police said in a news release.

Christenson is scheduled to make a court appearance on Wednesday.

Earlier Tuesday, he said more demonstrations would follow.

Christenson said RCMP had arrived in the morning at the base of the tree inside the marine terminal, advised him of his rights and explained they were prepared to climb the tree to arrest him where he'd perched himself 30 metres above the ground.

He said he staged a similar protest and was arrested last year at the height of rallies against plans to triple the capacity of the pipeline to carry bitumen from the Edmonton area to Burnaby.

The trained climber said he was prepared to descend from his perch rather than risk the safety of the officers ordered to make the arrest.

His demonstration aimed to renew awareness of the strong opposition to expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, Christenson said.

Work on expansion of the pipeline was suspended in August when the Federal Court of Appeal found First Nations were not adequately consulted and that the National Energy Board failed to consider the marine shipping impacts.

The federal government purchased the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada for $4.5 billion last year in order to ensure the expansion would proceed.

Christenson said he believes his latest protest in the enormous cottonwood will help eagles return to the area.

"Because it's the biggest tree in the harbour, eagles for years have nested here, and so Kinder Morgan put in an eagle deterrent," he said.

Demonstrators are confident that expansion of the terminal could be affected if eagle nests prevent removal of surrounding trees.

"So, we threw (the eagle deterrent) down yesterday," Christenson said.

"I've had a great couple of days. And it's not over. There will be other actions."

The Canadian Press



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