A checkpoint is seen at a bridge leading to the Unist’ot’en camp on a remote logging road near Houston, B.C., on January 17, 2019. A natural gas pipeline project has polarized many communities across northern British Columbia in a dispute a Wet’suwet’en elder says he hopes will be resolved through dialogue. Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast. The company has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nation councils along its path, but the hereditary clan chiefs who are leaders under the traditional form of governance say the project has no authority without their consent.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Coastal GasLink stresses pipeline ‘on a schedule’ as B.C. appoints liaison for Wet’suwet’en

670-kilometre pipeline is schedule to be completed by end of 2023

The president of Coastal GasLink said the company wants a peaceful resolution to the conflict around its 670-kilometre pipeline in northern B.C..

Speaking on a call Monday, president David Pfeiffer told reporters that while he wants to work with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the $6.6 billion pipeline, the company is “on a schedule.”

The Coastal GasLink pipeline stretches through the territory of 20 First Nations, all of whose elected chiefs have signed agreements with the company, although Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have said the company has no authority to build without their permission.

The pipeline is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023 and will deliver natural gas to the LNG Canada terminal in Kitimat. It has received all necessary permits and Premier John Horgan has said Coastal GasLink will go ahead. Just after Pfeiffer spoke, the province announced that former Skeena—Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen was appointed as a liaison between the province and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

READ MORE: Move natural gas pipeline, MP suggests

Pfeiffer said the protests along the pipeline route could begin to cause major delays.

Camp 9A, a small camp located at Morice River site, is meant to be replaced by a larger 500-person camp so that Coastal GasLink can begin serious construction work this summer.

However, the Wet’suwet’en have blocked access to the site, despite a court injunction granted by the B.C. Supreme Court on New Year’s Eve.

Pfeiffer says the company has no control about when RCMP will go in to enforce the injunction. On Jan. 13, Mounties created an “exclusion zone” at the 27-kilometre mark of Morice West Forest Service Road. At the time, RCMP said they would allow in Wet’suwet’en hereditary and elected chiefs, governmetn officials, media, and those bringing in food or supplies for people beyond the blockade.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en evict Coastal GasLink from work site near Houston

READ MORE: RCMP create access control checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road

READ MORE: Injunction granted vs. opponents of Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C.

The route of the pipeline is not up for major changes that could carry it outside of Wet’suwet’en territory, Pfeiffer said. He said it took the company six years of work “to find a route that was both technically and commercially viable and minimized impact to the environment.”

Route changes, both major and minor, have been considered but Pfeiffer said they were technically and environmentally inferior. One route change the company and some hereditary chiefs did agree to was a minor diversion of 40 kilometres to avoid environmentally sensitive areas.

Pfeiffer said the hereditary chiefs have not responded to letters sent by Coastal GasLink thus far, although he is hoping to meet with some of them this week.

“We’re trying to send a message to the hereditary chiefs that we’d like to sit down and talk to them,” he said.

“We want to resolve this peacefully but we do have a schedule and we do have impacts if we can’t get access to that area.”

Black Press Media has reached out to the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs for comment.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink makes new request to meet with First Nation pipeline opponents


@katslepian

[email protected]

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

New MP Taylor Bachrach makes his first trip to Bella Coola

Bachrach said he is keen to get to know his riding and the members of his constituency

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Nuxalk Nation celebrates first carpentry graduates

11 students graduated from the community’s first carpentry program

Bella Coola leave their mark on All Native Basketball Tournament as they reach Intermediate final

Nuxalk Braves bring home a strong second place finish; three individual awards for Marlon Edgar-Apps

All Native Basketball: Finals matchups start to take shape as title games approach

Two Prince Rupert sides in contention, while two dynasties are on the brink

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Most Read