Supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline set up a support station at kilometre 39, just outside of Gidimt’en checkpoint near Houston B.C., on Wednesday January 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Three turned away at B.C. pipeline checkpoint over miscommunication: RCMP

Mounties were installing new access procedures after checkpoint was set up for Coastal GasLink site

The RCMP says miscommunication led to three people being turned away at a checkpoint along a logging road leading to a work site for a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

Supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coastal GasLink project have set up three camps between the checkpoint and the work site.

The Mounties say in a news release that there was some miscommunication as frontline police were implementing new access procedures after the checkpoint was set up on Monday morning.

Of the three people who were turned away, the RCMP says one would not provide basic details, such as identification and purpose of travel, another faced a shift in weather conditions as nightfall approached and the third person was refused access to transport food and supplies.

The Mounties say the police officer at the checkpoint made arrangements for the supplies to be transported in by a different person, but both individuals decided not to proceed and left the area.

The RCMP says since the procedures have been clarified it has not received any reports of further issues and most individuals have been able to proceed.

“The access control checkpoint is a measured response that reflects the need to prevent further escalation of the situation including the placement of hazards along the roadway and the creation of a third encampment blocking access,” the news release says.

“It also allows the RCMP to be accountable for the safety of all persons accessing this area given the hazards, unplowed roads and severe winter conditions.”

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association says in a news release that it is filing legal complaints for two individuals who were bringing food and emergency supplies but were denied access by the RCMP.

The association, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union and a law professor at UBC were set to hold a news conference Wednesday about the complaints.

Harsha Walia, executive director of the civil liberties association, says in the news release she was concerned about the use of exclusion zones prohibiting Wet’suwet’en people, the public and media from accessing the First Nation’s territories.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink makes new request to meet with First Nation pipeline opponents

“This exclusion zone constitutes a serious violation of both the Indigenous rights and Charter-protected rights of Wet’suwet’en people and their family members,” she says.

However, the RCMP say the checkpoint is not an exclusion zone, which are areas created when police enforce a civil injunction. It says it’s not enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to allow time for dialogue between the hereditary chiefs and Coastal GasLink.

“Based on a review by the operations commander, RCMP officers appeared to be acting professionally and in good faith. If there are public complaints made, we will ensure full disclosure of all information regarding the interaction including the video captured by police.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Warriors introduce new leadership core, look for bounce back after Friday loss

West Kelowna’s three-game winning streak ended Friday with a 6-3 loss

‘It’s still early’: Flu rates down so far this year at Interior Health

At Kelowna General Hosptial, there have been about 50 confirmed cases

Undermanned Rockets come close in 1st game of road-trip with 3-2 loss to Silvertips

Kelowna continues the three-game stretch Saturday night in Portland

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Video, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Two-vehicle collision slows traffic on Highway 97

Harvey is down to two lanes heading east past Dilworth is closed while crews clean up

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Photo reminds Salmon Arm resident of connection to former drama teacher Justin Trudeau

Prime minister remembered as being as a funny, larger-than-life person

Province says it is monitoring AIM’s road maintenance

The provincial transportation ministry is working closely with new road contractor AIM,… Continue reading

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Coquihalla, Highway 3 to be hit with freezing rain, sparking warning to commuters

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

Most Read