RCMP vehicles pictured at the 27-kilometre mark of Morice West Forest Service Road. The RCMP has said they have set up the check point to assure safety and mitigate concerns surrounding a number of hazardous items found in close proximity to a number of felled logs further down the road. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

RCMP create access control checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road

Premier says Coastal GasLink project will proceed despite opposition

The RCMP have set up an access control checkpoint on the Morice West Forest Service Road several kilometres from where the Wet’suwet’en felled trees leading to a Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline construction site near Houston.

The RCMP set up the checkpoint during the afternoon of Jan. 13.

When The Interior News reached the checkpoint an officer confirmed that they would be restricting access to the road until future notice but would not give any additional details.

According to an RCMP statement the purpose of the checkpoint — located at the 27-kilometre mark of Morice West Forest Service Road — is to mitigate safety concerns surrounding a number of fallen trees and hazardous items such as bottles of incendiary fluid that are located starting a few kilometres further down the road.

The RCMP say they are restricting access and while permission to enter the checkpoint must come from the Operations Commander or their delegate, access will typically be granted to the following persons:

Wet’suwet’en hereditary and elected chiefs; government officials; accredited journalists with recognized media outlets; persons who are providing food, medicine or other supplies meant for the well-being and safety of individuals behind the blockade; or other individuals as per the RCMP’s discretion.

However contrary to the above a spokesperson with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en told The Interior News that RCMP denied access to at least one member of the media and hereditary chief Rob Alfred earlier on Jan. 13.

READ MORE: Horgan says ‘rule of law applies,’ Coastal GasLink will proceed despite protests

Later in the evening Gidimt’en spokesperson Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham) and a small group of both supporters and members of the media attempted to enter the checkpoint.

The Interior News has learned that while Wickham was told she was able to gain access past the checkpoint the RCMP would not let the entire group in.

On Jan. 15 the RCMP issued a statement addressing the above.

“As frontline police officers were implementing the new access procedure on the first day, there was some miscommunication that resulted in three individuals being turned away,” it reads.

“In one case the person would not provide basic details such as identification and purpose of travel, and in another case, there was a shift in weather conditions as nightfall approached. In the third case, another person transporting food and supplies, was not initially allowed access.”

RCMP say officers made arrangements for to transport supplies in for individuals turned away at the checkpoint. However they say both individuals decided to leave the area.

“The procedures have since been clarified and we have not had any reports of further issues and most individuals have been able to proceed. 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.”

Law enforcement has stressed they are an impartial party in the matter on multiple occasions and want to ensure the safety of all those involved.

They are also saying the checkpoint is not an exclusion zone.

“At this point, we are not enforcing the BC Supreme Court injunction to allow time for dialogue between the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, Elected Councils, Coastal GasLink and Government. 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. 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 trees in question were felled after the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs served the company with an eviction notice Jan. 4 in response to a B.C. Supreme Court injunction issued Dec. 31.

Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) has said the chiefs are steadfast that they will not allow the pipeline to proceed through their traditional territory.

A year ago, RCMP set up a similar exclusion zone prior to dismantling a Gidimt’en gate on a bridge and arrested 14 individuals while carrying out the enforcement of a December 2018 injunction granting CGL access to the area.

Meanwhile, B.C. premier John Horgan has said the pipeline will proceed despite opposition.

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

 

RCMP vehicles pictured at the 27-kilometre mark of Morice West Forest Service Road. The RCMP has said they have set up the check point to assure safety and mitigate concerns surrounding a number of hazardous items found in close proximity to a number of felled logs further down the road. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Just Posted

Northern Health records no new Covid cases in a month

Laboratory services return with fewer restrictions

Council holding off on decision regarding 2019 Dungate Community Forest disbursement

Houston Council voted at their July 7 meeting to refer their discussion… Continue reading

Houston reopens Bymac campground

If you’ve been missing Bymac Park, this news should make you a… Continue reading

RCMP still looking into the Nicole Hoar disappearance

Hopes for public help in the Highway of Tears investigation

Stop and smell the roses

Houston resident, Charmaine DeTeves captured this beautiful picture of her 7-year-old granddaughter,… Continue reading

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read