By The Canadian Press
Members of a First Nation in northern B.C. have evicted surveyors working on a natural gas pipeline project from their territory and set up a roadblock against all pipeline activity.
A group identifying itself as the Unis’tot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation said surveyors for Apache Canada’s Pacific Trails Pipeline were trespassing.
“The Unis’tot’en clan has been dead-set against all pipelines slated to cross through their territories, which include PTP [Pacific Trails Pipeline], Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and many others,” Freda Huson, a spokesperson for the group, said in a statement.
“As a result of the unsanctioned PTP work in the Unis’tot’en yintah, the road leading into the territory has been closed to all industry activities until further notice.”
Huson was not available for comment.
It’s unclear what road is blocked, or where. The group said its territory is along the Clore River, located west of the Williams Creek Ecological Reserve about 30 kilometres southeast of Terrace.
Company spokesman Paul Wyke confirmed Wednesday that surveyors were asked to leave the area.
“We had some surveyors in the area last evening and they were asked to leave traditional territory by a small group of members from the Unis’tot’en, and they complied,” Wyke said.
“We understand that there are some members of the Unis’tot’en that have expressed some concerns with the proposed PTP project, and we continue to consult with First Nations along the entire proposed pipeline right-of-way.”
Wyke said the company will continue ongoing consultations with aboriginal groups. The project has the support of 15 of 16 aboriginal groups along the route, he said.
The blockading group said the province does not have the right to approve development on their traditional lands, which lie northwest of Kitimat, the future home of an Apache Canada liquefied natural gas plant and the tanker port for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.