After announcing last week they would consider relocating their operations centre from a remote area of Wet’suwet’en territory to a nearby northern BC town if hereditary chiefs opposed to a natural gas pipeline agreed to keep the construction route clear, RCMP said on Thursday that a “mutual agreement” between the RCMP and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs had been reached.
“The BC RCMP are pleased to confirm that discussions with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have led to an agreement on Wednesday, February 26 which supports their upcoming meetings with government representatives this week,” said BC RCMP Communications Director Dawn Roberts.
“Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP and A/Commr. Eric Stubbs, Criminal Operations Officer – CORE Policing have been actively engaged in discussions with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs over the past week,” she added.
The discussions, said Roberts, “focused on the need to ensure the Morice West Forest Service Road (MWFSR) remains open and free of any obstructions, as well as our presence in the territory and the future of Community-Industry Safety Office (C-ISO) located at the 29 km mark of the MWFSR.”
In what police called “an act of good faith,” RCMP closed the C-ISO on Friday, February 21 and relocated its base of operations to the Houston RCMP Detachment.
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“The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have committed that the road will remain open during their discussions with the Federal and Provincial governments,” said Roberts. “Therefore, the RCMP has confirmed that patrols along the Morice West Forest Service Road will cease during the period of discussions with the government representatives.”
Roberts said the RCMP has agreed not to patrol the road unless there is an emergency call for service, such as a motor vehicle accident with injuries.
“To ensure the hereditary chiefs’ commitment is being respected, members of the Wet’suwet’en Rangers will patrol the road, while talks are being held,” she added. “We truly appreciate the respect and openness shown by all parties during these important discussions.”