03/13/2015 09:24 EDT | Updated 05/13/2015 05:59 EDT

Kinder Morgan says taking photos on Burnaby Mountain is suspicious

Kinder Morgan says its protocols dictate that it report "suspicious activities" like taking photos near its Burnaby Mountain facility, even though the surrounding area is Crown land on which they have no jurisdiction to prohibit photography.

SFU climate change scientist Tim Takaro says he felt "intimidated" when he got a call from Burnaby RCMP earlier this week asking him about photographs he took with Kinder Morgan infrastructure in the background. They also told him they knew he had been to protest rallies that had taken place there a few months earlier.

Stephen Hansen, Kinder Morgan's acting western region director, says the company has the protocol in place for a good reason.

"The reason we have it is to ensure the safety and security of our operations and staff, and certainly the community," said Hansen in an interview with On the Coast.

He added that the protocol for suspicious activities includes filing a report and notifying local authorities. And the RCMP says it will investigate any complaint, no matter how trivial it may appear.

"We may find out at the end of the day there is nothing to it," said Cpl. Sgt. John Buis. "We investigate all of them because something may slip through the cracks."

Updating security guards' approach

Takaro says he was approached by a security guard when he was taking photos on Burnanby Mountain and told he couldn't do that. 

Now, Kinder Morgan says it will train its security guards to take a more communicative approach with anyone in the nearby area taking photos.

"It's not going to be 'Stop taking pictures.' It's going to be more to the tone, 'Is there anything we can help you with?'" said Hansen.

He said if anyone taking photos or acting suspiciously refuses to speak with the guards, the company will have to contact the RCMP.

"We don't know who these people are," said Hansen.

He said the company will also look at changing or updating its signage to notify people of the photography restrictions, although he also confirmed that it's not illegal to take pictures on Crown land.

As for Prof. Tim Takaro's concerns that he felt intimidated — especially because RCMP had contacted his daughter instead of him directly — Hansen said Kinder Morgan has no control over the investigative process.

He said he understands that Takaro is upset, and that the company has been trying to get in contact with him to address any of his concerns.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Kinder Morgan responds to Burnaby Mountain photo concerns.