Freda Huson (Interior News archive photo)

Coastal GasLink pauses work over trap line dispute

Unist’ot’en dispute claims traps were set after injunction gives pipeline workers access.

By Thom Barker

Coastal GasLink has stopped work south of Houston on its pipeline project claiming people are continuing to place traps in the area after agreeing to abide by a court injunction in December.

In a statement Jan. 24, the company said it temporarily suspended work for safety reasons.

“Accessing an active construction site where heavy equipment is at work and placing traps in an active construction site poses a threat to our people as well as those on the site unauthorized,” the statement read.

Coastal GasLink says the work is fully approved and permitted based on agreements with 20 First Nations bands along the route. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, however, continue to oppose the pipeline and supported a Unis’tot’en camp (Dark House) blockade of a bridge the company needed to cross to access the work area.

The B.C. Supreme Court in December granted Coastal GasLink a temporary injunction until May 1, which Unist’ot’en camp leaders agreed to abide by. Further negotiations with RCMP were made with the hereditary chiefs and one of the gates was removed.

READ MORE: Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en camp founder and spokesperson, disputed the company’s version.

“They’re claiming we put them up after, but they were always there,” she said. “We’ve been trapping for, like, six years, but because they goofed up and drove through one of the lines, they’re claiming we just put it there.”

Huson insists it is not the Unis’tot’en who are breaking the injunction agreement.

“They were supposed to not interfere with our trapping and our cultural practices on our land,” she said. “That was the second agreement that was made and was broken.”

Furthermore, Huson said, the company is now blocking trappers from accessing their lines.

“They were blocking the trappers from going back to exchange the other people that were on shift,” she said. “When they were trying to do their switch-out, the switch-out people were stuck on this side and the other trappers still remained on the opposite side. The workers actually blocked us and then the RCMP came and they said they were told the injunction trumps our traps.”

The Coastal GasLink statement said the company is working with the RCMP to resolve the issue.

An RCMP spokesperson said officers are responding.

“We can confirm that the RCMP have responded to complaints of possible violations of the court ordered injunction issued by the B.C. Supreme Court against protesters who interfere with the Coastal GasLink project in Houston, B.C.,” a statement read. “Police officers from the Community-Industry Safety Office (C-ISO) that has been set up in the Morice West Forest Service Road corridor as requested by the hereditary chiefs, are currently investigating.”

 

Smogelgem (Warner Naziel) and Freda Huson at the Morice River bridge by the Unist’ot’en camp. (Interior News archive photo)

Just Posted

Ashcroft under Boil Water Notice

High turbidity levels in the Thompson River have prompted the notice

Prescribed burns to take place around Lytton, Spences Bridge

BC Wildfire Service will only conduct burns if conditions permit

Flooding hits Highway 97 north of Cache Creek

Recent warm temperatures are causing an increase in flooding on area roads

Elizabeth May feels people are looking at the Green Party with new eyes

Green Party leader is hoping for a breakthrough for her party in the October federal election

Cache Creek Softball Association gears up for another season

Organizers are looking for people of all ages from throughout the area

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read