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

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Kelowna woman shares story of alleged dog attack

Resident Yuli Lavigne alleges the incident happened on Monday, July 6

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Successful first week for Lucky To Go, service expansion underway

The service is expanding to Peachland, Lake Country, Penticton and Vernon by the end of July

Kelowna woman fights off nighttime intruder

Kelowna RCMP are investigating a break-and-enter on Richter Street

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Pure magic: live performances revived in Revelstoke

Revelstoke Arts Council hosting Guerrilla Gigs on Wednesdays all summer long

Penticton photographer publishes book showcasing resilience of Okanagan people

Okanagan Strong showcases the bravery of many during crisis; from COVID-19, to floods, and fires

Summerland steam train to begin operations

Reduced schedule, physical distancing planned for Kettle Valley Steam Railway beginning July 18

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Summerland to hold meeting on solar project

Event on July 13 at 1 p.m. open to comments from the public

LETTER: Land for Summerland’s solar project site was designated for growth

Site represents close to 20 per cent of land marked for future growth

COVID-19: Fundraiser launched to keep Okanagan restaurant afloat

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Little Tex Restaurant with a goal of $25,000

Most Read