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Shell Canada sues over oil spill



B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell tours the site of the oil spill last year. Shell Canada is now suing a number of parties over the spill. Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun file

Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun

Published: Thursday, October 02, 2008

VANCOUVER – Shell Canada is suing the City of Burnaby, Trans Mountain Pipeline, Kinder Morgan Canada and two contractors for an oil spill in Burnaby last year.

It is the latest legal action in a flurry of lawsuits filed after more than 200,000 litres of crude oil gushed onto Inlet Drive when a contractor hired by the city was using an excavator that ruptured a pipeline during a sewer upgrade project on July 24, 2007.

The oil spill forced dozens of people from their homes and coated the nearby shoreline, causing millions in damages and cleanup costs.


The lawsuit, filed this week in B.C. Supreme Court, also names R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd. and B. Cusano Contracting Inc. as defendants.

Cusano was hired by Burnaby to provide excavation services for the sewer upgrade and Binnie, an engineering and surveying services firm, was hired to oversee the project, the legal action says.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants were negligent in failing to ensure the sewer upgrade project complied with regulations when working within three metres of a pipeline, including having accurate maps and charts setting out the exact location of the pipeline.

Shell is seeking damages for the cost of cleaning up the oil spill and loss of business while its wharf and terminal facilities were shut down.

Earlier this year, Trans Mountain and Alberta-based Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. launched a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court claiming Burnaby and its contractors were negligent in carrying out the sewer work.

Burnaby later filed a statement of defence, blaming the pipeline’s owner and manager for supplying inaccurate maps.

At least a dozen Burnaby residents affected by the oil spill have also filed lawsuits.

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