Access to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal is being blocked by protesters in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. (Cynthia Johson/Twitter)

Access to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal is being blocked by protesters in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. (Cynthia Johson/Twitter)

Pipeline protesters block access to Victoria ferry in support of B.C. First Nation

Motorists unable to access 7 a.m. sailing

Protesters are blocking the Swartz Bay ferry terminal outside of Victoria “by land and kayak” in solidarity with a B.C. First Nation’s opposition to a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

Both the 7 a.m. sailings from Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, on the mainland, were held back while BC Ferries said it was determining “the scope of the protest.”

The 7 a.m. sailing out of Tsawwassen left 70 minutes behind schedule and the 9 a.m. sailing was cancelled. Ferries were also held back at Otter Bay and Village Bay in the southern Gulf Islands because of safety concerns with kayakers in the water.

Protesters began to clear the Swartz Bay terminal just before 9 a.m.

The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nation have been fighting the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their untreatied territory near Smithers and Houston.

Protesters in Victoria said they are targeting BC Ferries because proposed upgrades to two of its vessels “will make them reliant on the very product that [Coastal GasLink] threatens to bring through Wet’suwet’en territory.”

RELATED: B.C. hereditary chiefs ban Coastal GasLink from Wet’suwet’en lands

Protest spokesperson Kolin Sutherland-Wilson of the Gitxsan First Nation – a neighbouring territory – said the group is composed of allies and young First Nations people from across the province.

“The more people learn about what’s happening, the more details, the more they want to get out there and make a statement,” Sutherland-Wilson said. “British Columbia’s policy towards unceded Indigenous nations has regressed to where it was over 100 years ago.”

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs issued an eviction notice to the company on Jan. 4, demanding contractors and staff leave the territory and cease operations.

He said the demonstration was in support of that, and in opposition to any police force used to gain control over the work site, referring to the RCMP raids on a particular checkpoint on Jan. 7.

Sutherland-Wilson said RCMP were at the terminal, but not removing protesters.

Premier John Horgan has said the pipeline will proceed, citing court rulings in favour of the project, approval from 20 Indigenous nations, and its economic and social importance to the region.

– with a file from The Canadian Press

RELATED: UVic students walk out in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
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

Possible COVID-19 exposures may have occurred at Alexander Elementary School on Jan. 13, 14 and 15. (Google Maps)
Alexander Elementary in Duncan announces possible COVID-19 exposures

Exposures may have occurred on Jan. 13, 14 and 15

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New street signs in Duncan in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional native names on signs

North Cowichan to add three more off-leash dog areas in the new year. (File photo)
North Cowichan adds three new off-leash areas

Trial program runs through 2021, but not the summer months

Principal Marie-Claude Carrier has overseen the opening of the Cowichan Valley’s first francophone school. (Citizen file)
Registration now open for Duncan Francophone school

École francophone de Duncan opened last fall with six students

Reggie went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park on Jan. 3 and owner Brittny Bukva is hoping for his safe return. (Submitted)
Have you seen Reggie? Dog went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park

Have you seen Reggie? Dog went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
One in five tests in Fernie area coming back positive: doctor

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
From the “You can’t make this stuff up” file – stories from the BC CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

The RCMP are reminding drivers to find alternative ways home if they have consumed anything that impairs their ability to drive. (Black Press file photo)
Impaired Island driver flees road check twice on the same night

The officer issued the driver numerous violation tickets, and a four-month driving suspension

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Most Read