Coastal GasLink is building 14 construction camps to house workers along the route of its pipeline in northern B.C. (Coastal GasLink photo)

Coastal GasLink makes new request to meet with First Nation pipeline opponents

President writes letter following Premier John Horgan’s comments on law needing to be followed

The president of a company building a natural gas pipeline across northern British Columbia is renewing a request to meet with the hereditary clan chiefs of a First Nation who say the project has no authority without their consent.

Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer says in a letter Tuesday to Na’moks, who leads one of five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, that the company’s preference is to resolve the dispute over the pipeline through meaningful dialogue.

Na’moks could not immediately be reached for comment but said last week that the chiefs won’t meet with industry representatives, only “decision makers” in the provincial and federal governments and RCMP leadership.

The 670-kilometre pipeline would run from near Chetwynd in northeastern B.C. to LNG Canada’s export terminal in Kitimat on the coast.

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations along the pipeline route, but the hereditary clan chiefs say no one is allowed on their 22,000-square-kilometre territory without their consent.

On Monday, Premier John Horgan said the $6.2-billion pipeline is vital to the region’s economic future and will be built despite the Wet’suwet’en chiefs’ objections, adding that the courts have ruled in favour of the project.

“We want everyone to understand that there are agreements from the Peace Country to Kitimat with Indigenous communities that want to see economic activity and prosperity take place,” Horgan said. “All the permits are in place for this project to proceed. This project is proceeding and the rule of law needs to prevail in B.C.”

Pfeiffer says in the letter to Na’moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, that Horgan’s comments reinforce the need to collaborate and work together to solve their issues, in addition to and separate from the hereditary clan chiefs’ conversations with the provincial government.

He suggests Friday as a date to meet and says that although the B.C. Supreme Court has granted the company an injunction to access its work site in the Wet’suwet’en traditional territory, the company would prefer to resolve the differences through dialogue.

Pfeiffer also thanked the chiefs for their support in helping the company winterize its worker accommodation site, which lies down a logging road where supporters of the hereditary chiefs have felled dozens of trees, blocking access.

The RCMP has said a criminal investigation is underway into traps likely to cause bodily harm, after officers say they found piles of tires with jugs of fuel and accelerant inside, as well as rags soaked in fuel, in the area where the trees were felled.

Members of the Wet’suwet’en say in a news release that the one-time access to winterize worker accommodations was granted to avoid damages to Coastal GasLink assets and the surrounding environment, since the work site would not be occupied during an expected cold snap.

The release says the access was offered “in good faith,” but the arrangement in no way constitutes consultation with the company and the group remains steadfast in its opposition to the pipeline.

Amy Smart, 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

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read