The RCMP’s temporary office is set up a few kilometres past a roadblock at the 27-kilometre point on the Morice West Forest Service Road in Houston, B.C. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

The RCMP has removed its temporary office from traditional Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C., but the First Nation’s hereditary chiefs say they are still patrolling the logging road that controls access to the Coastal GasLink work sites.

“They have shuttered the building itself, but we had also asked them to slow down their patrols, if not cease, but that just hasn’t happened,” said chief Na’moks. “Everything is peaceful. We just can’t see any reason why they would continue to do that.”

Last Friday, the RCMP finished moving its base of operations to its Houston detachment in the wake of enforcing a court injunction and removing Wet’suwet’en members and their supporters from blocking access to the pipeline work sites.

An RCMP spokesperson has confirmed officers continue to patrol the area to ensure the Morice West Forest Service Road stays open.

The hereditary chiefs are demanding an end to the police presence and for the complete withdrawal of Coastal GasLink crews from the area before meaningful talks can occur between the chiefs and federal and provincial governments.

READ MORE: Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal

Na’moks, who also goes by the name John Risdale, said conversations on those demands were going well with the Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and B.C. RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, but ended abruptly on Friday when the prime minister called for the injunction to be upheld and ordered the removal of barricades on rail lines across Canada, erected in support of hereditary chiefs.

“We were making headway, but then the prime minister held his press conference and we went backwards after that.”

Na’moks said valuable momentum was lost over the weekend. However in an email the RCMP stated talks with the hereditary chiefs will continue.

“Out of respect for the discussions, and the trust being sought by all, we don’t wish to speak about any of the specifics at this time,” said a RCMP spokesperson.

“However I can confirm that the discussions to date have been respectful and positive and also provided a number of options, considerations and commitments that will continue to move us all forward towards solutions.”

The police force has previously said its officers will leave the area once they meet with the hereditary chiefs and receive a commitment that they’ll keep the service road clear.

READ MORE: Police move to clear rail blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coastal GasLink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Okanagan real estate market adjusting to ‘new normal’

Numbers are up in March; however, industry insiders say the market has cooled

Not all receive COVID-19 aid from federal government

Summerland woman does not qualify for federal assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

Law enforcement will patrol shuttered campgrounds in Cascades this weekend

Patrols will enforce provincial order requiring all such facilities remain closed during COVID-19

Campfires still permitted in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Restrictions have been implemented elsewhere within valley

Summerland parks remain open for passive use

Users urged to maintain physical distancing to slow spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

Public warned to stay away from algae bloom near Herald Park in Shuswap Lake

Interior Health states that people, pets should not drink the water in the area or touch the algae

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

South Shuswap residents criticize upgrades to Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Reliance on frontage roads and narrow underpasses near Blind Bay not good enough

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

COVID-19: No more international flights at Kelowna International Airport

All international flights at YLW have been suspended, airport to operate just nine flights a day

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Most Read