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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

Trail RCMP, coroner, investigating fisherman’s sudden death

The Maple Ridge man, in his 50s, died while fishing on a bridge near Trail

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read