A gate erected by a Wet’suwet’en clan house along the Morice River Forest Service Road south of Houston remains in place, but it is not impeding traffic.
“It is our understanding that the gate belongs to the Casayex (Grizzly House) of the Wet’suwet’en [Gitdumden clan]. We are unsure why the gate was constructed,” a statement last week from the provincial forests, lands, and natural resource operations and northern development ministry indicated.
The road is the responsibility of the ministry and is now a key access route for Coastal GasLink contractors to the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline right of way where pre-construction activity has accelerated leading to construction of the pipeline beginning next year.
The pipeline will feed the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas plant being built at Kitimat.
Ministry officials did a site visit to the gate at the 44 kilometre mark of the road June 27, delivering a letter requesting the gate be removed because it is an unauthorized structure.
“Individuals that were on site at the time did not respond,” the ministry statement continued. “As of July 11, 2019, the ministry has not received a response to the request.”
Another statement, this time from Coastal GasLink acknowledged the gate, saying it is “aware of the gate at KP 44 and CGL vehicles and contractors have not been impeded from accessing our construction activities.”
RCMP are also aware of the gate, with Corporal Madonna Saunderson saying there have been no reported issues.
She did add a court injunction granted last year to Coastal GasLink preventing interference with work along the pipeline right of way “remains in place and the RCMP will respond to calls for service regarding any actions that are contrary to the court’s direction.”
RCMP officers in early January enforced that injunction, arresting 14 people at another location, a gate erected by the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en.
Those people were subsequently released with no further court action and Coastal GasLink since then has been continuing work.
The Morice River Provincial Park is past the gate and a B.C. Parks notice on its website has advised travellers of its presence.
“The gate is currently open and access via this road remains unimpeded. As this road is the primary access point both in and out of the area, those planning to visit BC Parks or other sites beyond this point are being advised to consider this information when traveling,” the notice states.
Attempts by Houston Today to contact people at the gate have so far been unsuccessful.