Anglican priest chains herself to a tree in protest of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

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Anglican priest Laurel Dykstra (left) and parishoner Lini Hutchings chain themselves to a tree west of the Trans Mountain terminal on Burnaby mountain Friday (May 25) morning. Photo Lauren Boothby

A priest and her parishioner are chained to a tree outside the Trans Mountain terminal this morning, in protest of the pipeline expansion.

The two women began their protest around 7:30 a.m. They were identified by a friend as Reverend Laurel Dykstra and Lini Hutchings, both members of Salal and Cedar, an Anglican church part of the Diocese of New Westminster.

Around the same time, a group of protesters from Protect the Inlet began blocking trucks from leaving Kinder Morgan’s Westridge marine terminal in North Burnaby. Some thirty people had gathered on site by 9 a.m.

Burnaby RCMP arrived at both locations around 8:30 a.m.

Officers were seen approaching the Dykstra and Hutchings to inform them they were violating an injunction from the Supreme Court of B.C. that prevents people from coming within five metres of the two Trans Mountain terminals and from blocking work from being completed.

Patti Powell, who is Hutchings’ sister, said the two women were compelled by their beliefs to protest.

“They’re both principled women who know and believe this is a degradation against the safety and the integrity of this part of the world,” she told the NOW. “Both Laurel and Lini are not grandstanders at all. They’re both quite quiet and introverted people, and they don’t seek attention a lot. When they come out and do an action like this, they do it with a lot of thought and consideration and conviction.”

Rev. Emelie Smith, the parish priest at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in New Westminster, said the two women were protesting because of their religious beliefs.

“I think it’s an act of faith. I think people should know they are doing this out of their deep Christian faith and need to protect the planet,” she said.

Arrests are expected today.

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