RCMP officers from the Community-Industry Safety Office (C-ISO) continue to conduct patrols along the Morice West Forest Service Road to ensure the safety of individuals at the Healing Centre, Coastal GasLink employees, and general public traveling along the corridor, according to a statement issued by the RCMP Wednesday.
On January 6, during the course of regular patrols, officers attended the 39.5-kilometre mark and were stopped by a blockade of fallen trees. Officers conducted foot patrols towards the 44-kilometre mark, and noted several dozen trees had been felled across the roadway.
“Of particular concern for safety, they noted some trees that were partly cut in readiness for felling,” reads the statement. “This creates a hazard where these trees can fall unexpectedly due to wind. Three stacks of tires were also noticed, each covered by tarps and trees, and contained several jugs of accelerants – gasoline, diesel, oil, kindling and bags full of fuel soaked rags.
The matter has been brought to the attention of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who, earlier this month announced they would terminate an access agreement with Coastal GasLink and demanded workers constructing a natural gas pipeline through the area leave.
The chiefs have also been advised that the RCMP has started a criminal investigation under Section 247 of the Criminal Code for traps likely to cause bodily harm.
“While the RCMP respects the rights of individuals to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the BC Supreme Court in the injunction, our primary concerns are public and police officer safety,” reads the RCMP statement. “We will take steps to ensure that those who unlawfully interfere with or threaten the safety of any person or property may be held accountable in accordance with the laws of Canada. This applies to demonstrators, industry employees and contractors, as well as the general public We want to emphasize that we are impartial in this dispute and our priority is to facilitate a dialogue between the various stakeholders involved. We remain hopeful that these efforts will result in a resolution.”
According to the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Coastal GasLink has posted a copy of a December 31, 2019 Supreme Court injunction, giving it permission to resume building the pipeline, along the road.
“We have received reports that Coastal Gaslink has posted notice of the injunction enforcement order at the 39km mark of the Morice Forest Service Road,” the chiefs posted on their website. “Combined with the posting of this notice on their website, this means the Wet’suwet’en are given until approximately 3 p.m. on Friday to comply with the order and remove gates and cabins on our own unceded lands.”