Exclusion zone established in preparation for enforcement of Coastal GasLink court-ordered injunction
2020-02-06 07:15 PST
On December 31, 2019, the BC Supreme Court granted the Coastal GasLink interlocutory injunction order against persons who interfere with the Coastal GasLink project in and around the Morice River Bridge or the area accessed by the Morice West Forest Service Road.
Since that time, the RCMP has maintained a regular dialogue with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and Elected Band Councils, CGL, and Government, to support or facilitate discussions in an effort to find a peaceful resolution, without the need for police enforcement.
We had committed to respecting the 7-day discussion period, referred to by the Wet’suwet’en as
Wiggus, by not taking action to enforce the court-ordered injunction. However, given that the stakeholders were not able to come to an agreement during the
Wiggus, and the RCMP has maximized the discretionary time frame given by the Court, we will be enforcing the injunction today, February 6, 2020.
Increase in police presence
The Court acknowledged various factors in its decision to add a police enforcement clause including the remoteness of the area, the number of protesters at the blockades that varied over time, and their refusal to voluntarily comply with the injunction order.
The RCMP’s planning for potential enforcement has been ongoing to ensure the right resources were present, briefed, and trained to support a measured and scalable approach in keeping everyone safe. Given the remoteness of the area and the difficulty of predicting how many resources we will need to respond to any situation, it is necessary to have the right resources available and then scale them back based on a continuous assessment.
There will continue to be a marked increase in police resources in the Houston area, and patrols will be conducted on the ground as well as from the air to monitor the situation beyond the blockade of fallen trees and incendiary materials.
Exclusion zones and road closures
The access control checkpoint, which was created on January 13, 2020 to prevent further escalation of the situation and to mitigate safety concerns over hazardous items placed on the roadway, has now been established as a full exclusion zone. As of February 6, 2020, the RCMP will not allow access to anyone who is not part of the enforcement team, with some exceptions for Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and Elected Council members by arrangement with the Senior Commander.
The exclusion zone's purpose is to temporarily create an area where police and Coastal GasLink work can safely operate to deploy heavy machinery and equipment needed to clear hazards and re-establish access as intended by the Court.
Local residents and Traffic
The local residents, media, and the motoring public may be inconvenienced during the injunction enforcement period as pedestrians and vehicles will not be allowed to enter the temporary exclusion zone.
Contacts or more information
Regular calls for service in the Houston area should continue to be directed to the Houston RCMP. Their non-emergency telephone number is 250-845-2204. During an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
Media inquiries may be directed to Cpl. Chris Manseau at 250-413-7954.
Updates will be provided via the BC RCMP website on a daily basis.
BC RCMP Communication Services
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