CALGARY – Senior RCMP officers are in contact with First Nations protestors opposed to the $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline, trying to negotiate a way for construction work on the natural gas pipeline to resume in north-central British Columbia.
“Or priority is to engage with CGL, Indigenous communities and government to facilitate a resolution without police enforcement,” RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said in an emailed statement, adding that the force’s senior commander “has already been in direct contact with representatives of all these stakeholder groups, including the Hereditary Chiefs.”
Over the weekend, a breakaway group of hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs that oppose the natural gas pipeline asked the RCMP to “refrain from interference” in the dispute over the project that will link gas fields near Dawson Creek to the $40-billion LNG Canada export project in the coastal community of Kitimat.
Coastal GasLink said Monday that trees had been felled along the forestry access road leading to a pipeline work camp in contravention of the order, but the company said it didn’t know who cut the trees. Asked how access had been restricted, the company provided aerial photos to the Financial Post that were taken Monday showing dozens of trees along the road in the contested area.
The standoff has escalated tensions between the pipeline company, the protestors and highlighted divisions between elected and hereditary chiefs in British Columbia.