What to expect during police enforcement of court ordered injunction in Houston, BC

B.C. North District, Houston

2019-01-07 09:15 PST

The conflict between the oil and gas industries, Indigenous communities, and governments all across the province has been ongoing for a number of years. This has never been a police issue. In fact, the BC RCMP is impartial and we respect the rights of individuals to peaceful, lawful and safe protest.

On December 14, 2018, the BC Supreme Court issued an interim injunction order against persons who interfere with the Coastal GasLink project in and around the Morice River Bridge or the area accessed by the Morice West Forest Service Road. The injunction order gave protesters 72 hours to remove any obstructions, including but not limited to gates, they have caused of created on the Morice River Bridge or the Morice West Forest Services Road. If such obstructions are not removed within 72 hours, the Plaintiff is at liberty to remove those obstructions, including any gates.

The RCMP’s Division Liaison Team and Indigenous Policing Section have maintained a dialogue with the residents of the Unist’ot’en camp in the hopes that they would abide by the injunction and remove the gate on Morice River Bridge. Unfortunately that has not happened and Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. have been unable to conduct work in this area.

The RCMP will be enforcing the injunction today, January 7, 2019. The following information is being provided to the public on what to expect during the enforcement of this injunction should the residents of the camp or other persons continue to disobey the court order.

Increase in police presence

You will notice a definite increase in police resources in the Houston area. We are very hopeful that there will not be violence or disorder as we enforce the court order; however, the safety of the public and our officers is paramount when policing demonstrations, particularly due to the remote area in which the bridge is located. It’s important that there are officers available to respond should there be a need to attend to someone’s safety or should there be a need to make an arrest. The additional resources will also be assisting with local day-to-day operations.

It's difficult to predict how many calls for service we'll get in relation to one specific event or a series of events, and therefore difficult to predict how many resources we'll need to respond. The RCMP uses a carefully measured and scalable approach to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Exclusion zones and road closures

During the police enforcement operation, temporary exclusion zones and road closures will be established for police and public safety reasons. Those areas will be clearly marked and media/public are welcome to stand at the perimeter, but no one will be allowed to enter the exclusion zones. These zones will only be maintained as long as necessary.

Local residents and Traffic

The local residents and the motoring public may be inconvenienced during the injunction enforcement period as pedestrians and vehicles will not be allowed to enter any temporary exclusion zones. We will have officers stationed at publicly accessible roads within the exclusion zones who can assist with any concerns or issues from the motoring public so please do not hesitate to approach any of them and seek assistance with alternate routes.

Contacts or more information

Regular calls for service in the Houston area should continue to be directed to the Houston RCMP. Their non-emergency telephone number is 250-845-2204. During an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.

For some background information on the BC RCMP’s role in enforcing the injunction order, please refer to the news release issued on January 6, 2019.

Media inquiries may be directed to Cpl. Madonna Saunderson at 250-301-3521.

Updates will be provided via the BC RCMP website as and when available.

Released by:

E Division Communication Services

for Cpl. Madonna Saunderson
District Advisory NCO (Media Relations), North District

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