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

Online submissions now open for virtual Chilliwack Fair

No fee this year to submit entries for food, arts and more in 148th annual Chilliwack Fair

Handgun pointing complaint draws strong RCMP presence at Chilliwack residence Wednesday night

One in custody after brief standoff involving Emergency Response Team and canine unit

Iconic Chilliwack store passes clothing racks on to downtown neighbours

Chilliwack Mission Thriftstore given racks and fixtures as downtown store closes for good

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

Overnight closures for Vedder dike gates this summer rather than full closure

Working with anti-dumping and angling advocates, City of Chilliwack came up with compromise

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Wanted Burnaby man arrested in White Rock

34-year-old facing 15 charges, including sexual assault

Most Read