Get an aerial view of the more than 100 trees felled along the Morice West Forest Service Road, captured by our crews during a survey on January 6, 2020.
The road is unsafe and impassable. Our primary concern is the safety of all users of this public forestry road, including those who wish to protest our activities. Unlawful actions that put people at risk for serious harm are dangerous, reckless and unacceptable, and do not reflect peaceful protest. Read more in a statement from Coastal GasLink President David Pfeiffer.
Photos from a Coastal GasLink aerial survey on Jan. 6, 2020. There are more than 100 trees down in the Morice West Forest Service Road, with many of them between KM 42 and KM 39.
Coastal GasLink has written to Chief Namox to set up a meeting to discuss issues of importance to the Hereditary Chiefs of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.
While Coastal GasLink is re-starting work generally across the right-of-way, we believe that dialogue is preferable to confrontation and will delay re-mobilization near Workforce Accommodation site 9A while engagement and a negotiated resolution remain possible.
Coastal GasLink has informed the Unist’ot’en that we will periodically need to visit sites in and around site 9A for safety and environmental reasons while the accommodation site remains unoccupied.
Based on Chief Namox public comments, we anticipate a positive response to our meeting request and hope that a meeting can be set up quickly to resolve the issues at hand.
Coastal GasLink continues to remobilize construction crews across the right-of-way in anticipation of work resumption and ramp up this week, beginning with safety refresh meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Clearing, grading, workforce accommodation establishment and other activities are expected to continue as scheduled across the route. Pipe delivery also resumes this week, with continued receipt of materials at various storage sites, including north of Kitimat.
Most field construction activities were paused from Dec. 20 to Jan. 5, 2020 due to the holidays, with limited security and maintenance.
On December 31, 2019, the BC Supreme Court released its decision on the Interlocutory Injunction application by Coastal GasLink to ensure access was provided to areas in and around the Morice River Bridge. The Court granted the Interlocutory Injunction which confirms the legal right of Coastal GasLink to access areas covered by the Injunction.
On January 3, 2020, Coastal GasLink was notified by Dark House, also known as the Unist’ot’en, that it intends to terminate an Access Agreement that has been in place for the past year. The termination will be effective January 10, 2020 and Dark House requested Coastal GasLink abide by the access terms of the Agreement.
The Unist’ot’en wrote: “While Dark House is generally opting out of the Access Agreement, Dark House requests that the terms of the Access Agreement continue to be followed for CGL’s access across the Morice River Bridge as set out in Schedule A of the Access Agreement,” which appeared to indicate that continued access to work areas would be provided in accordance with the Agreement.
This Agreement reached between Coastal GasLink and representatives of the Unist’ot’en is a cooperative arrangement to address the concerns of Dark House, allow access to areas beyond the Morice River Bridge and ensure the safety of all users, including those at the Unist’ot’en Camp. As part of this Agreement, Coastal GasLink also provided the Unist’ot’en with funding to pay for their own fulltime security in and around the bridge area.
On January 4, subsequent to the cancellation of the Access Agreement representatives of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en issued an ‘eviction notice’ to Coastal GasLink and demanded that we remove our equipment from areas in which we are legally permitted to operate.
In addition, early on January 5, Coastal GasLink personnel discovered that trees had been felled on the Morice River Forest Service Road at Kilometer 39, making the road impassable. While it is unclear who felled these trees, this action is a clear violation of the Interlocutory Injunction as it prevents our crews from accessing work areas.
We are disappointed that after nearly a year of successful joint implementation of the Access Agreement the Unist’ot’en has decided to terminate it. Our preference has always been to find mutually agreeable solutions through productive and meaningful dialogue. We have reached out to better understand their reasons and are hopeful we can find a mutually agreeable path forward. To that end, we are requesting to meet with Unist’ot’en and the Hereditary Chiefs as soon as possible.
Over the past year, Coastal GasLink has repeatedly requested face-to-face meetings with the Unist’ot’en and the Office of the Wet’suwet’en but these requests have either been ignored or rejected by these groups.
Our top priority is the safety of all users of the public roads in the Morice River area. We respect the rights of others to peacefully and lawfully express their point of view, as long as their activities do not disrupt or jeopardize the safety of the public, our employees and contractors, or the protesters themselves.
In granting Coastal GasLink an Interlocutory Injunction, the BC Supreme Court made clear that it is unlawful to obstruct or blockade Coastal GasLink from pursuing its permitted and authorized activities.
The Court found that this project is in the public interest and will bring substantial benefits to First Nations, local communities, British Columbia and Canada. The Court also recognized that the project is supported by all 20 First Nations governments along the route, including the chiefs and councils elected to represent the five Wet’suwet’en bands which represent Wet’suwet’en people. There are many Wet’suwet’en Nation members working on this project today who are directly benefiting from the project through training and employment, and who want to see those benefits continue.
Coastal GasLink is committed to constructing this project safely, and with respect for all people, communities and environment.
We welcome the opportunity to engage in dialogue to work towards a resolution which avoids enforcement of the Injunction.
See our Frequently Asked Questions section of our website for more information about the consultation and engagement with the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
BC Supreme Court Decision
Agreement termination letter
Updated Jan. 5 at 6:00 p.m. PST: Coastal GasLink wishes to clarify that construction is expected to resume this week, following a pause for the holidays. The only people on-site on Saturday, Jan. 4 were security staff.