Child-sex tourism continues to rise in Canada and abroad: two year study. “In Canada, indigenous women and children are especially vulnerable and are often moved around to be exploited near oil rigs”
Study: Counties with fracking have increased rates of sexually transmitted infections; Another study shows link between B.C. extraction industries, domestic abuse
From: Rosemary & John Baxter [Rosemary is part of a Comox Valley Site C group holding monthly vigils at Ronna-Rae’s office since Mr. Horgan made his fateful decision on Site C. The group writes letters ad nauseam which never get replies but are finding more and more passers-by are aware of the fall-out from this Project. In December its the 2 year anniversary of that sad day at the Legislature.]
Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2019 8:14 PM
Subject: Our letter in the Record on the Site C dam in northern BC… this dam will be the final death knell of the Alberta wetlands which are critical –
Dear Mr. Fraser.
… Wondering how the recent permission given to set up an 800 man work camp for the CGL gas pipeline south of Houston fits with the NDP honouring UNDRIP! Will send that along to you as well. Our letter which was published in todays Record follows.
Rosemary Baxter, Courtenay
Questioning the wording in B.C.’s UNDRIP bill by Rosemary Baxter, Nov. 7, 2019, Comox Valley Record
Letter to the Editor
On October 24th the BC government tabled their Bill on adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. With the support of the Greens the Bill will surely pass. Since BC is the only province that hasn’t negotiated any land treaties this is a step forward, with special thanks to Minister Scott Fraser for the precedent setting work his department has done.
I’m puzzled though by the meaning of the words in Article 19 where the different parties must negotiate in ‘good faith’ to ‘obtain free, prior and informed consent’ before actions are implemented that might affect the indigenous people involved.
Last year I attended a meeting at our local college to hear three guests talk about the BC government’s decision to proceed with the Liberal project to build the Site C dam. Amnesty International presented, as did Indigenous leader Bob Chamberlin and Sarah Cox (award winning author of Breaching the Peace).
I took home a copy of UNDRIP and am astounded at how many Articles in this Document have been violated by the ongoing construction of the Site C dam. Is there any chance that this bill could be made ‘retroactive’ in order to address these serious violations? Probably not.
Sadly, in my elder years, I’ve become somewhat cynical. I see the BC government, hydro, forestry, mining companies, and the LNG promoters publicly getting that ‘free, prior and informed consent’ and then carrying on as planned! The Minister has said so himself…”NO veto over development…minimum standards”, obviously business as usual. Very disheartening.
Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2019 4:44 PM
Subject: 800 man camp construction permit issued on Wet’suwet’en territory south of Houston
How the hell does this fit with the BC NDP just putting UNDRIP into action which Scott Fraser so proudly put out in an email today.
The Smithers Interior News is reporting that the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako approved a permit for construction of an 800 man (max) work camp for the CGL gas pipeline south of Houston.
The story appeared in print in yesterday’s weekly edition…. It includes the location description, “the Morice Owen Forest Service Road..” which is in the heart of Wet’suwet’en territory.
This constitutes a reversal of an earlier RDBN decision, linked in the article.
RDBN reverses decision, approves Huckleberry camp permit, No timeline yet for when construction will begin on work camp south of Houston by Blair McBride, Oct 30, 2019, interiornews.com
TC Energy has been given the green light to begin preparing a work camp about 25 kilometres southwest of Houston that will house workers building the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline.
The board of directors of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) on Oct. 24 approved TC’s application for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) for the Huckleberry Multi-Use Site.
The permit covers a 42.94 hectare area beside the Morice Owen Forest Service Road, where TC plans to construct accommodation for workers, an equipment storage area and a contractor yard.
It is expected that at peak times 800 workers will live in the camp and the total life of the site is expected to last three to four years.
It was not yet known when clearing work would begin for the Huckleberry site, as TC spokesperson Suzanne Wilton told Black Press.
”Following the decision, we will take some time to review the schedule and determine next steps. We remain committed to continuing to work closely with our neighbours and surrounding communities as we progress with the construction of this critical infrastructure project,” she said.
The approval of the permit is a reversal of the RDBN’s denial of TC’s application during a board of directors meeting on Sept. 19.
At that meeting some directors and resident Bobby Seinen expressed concern over the rough conditions on Morice River Rd., the volume of traffic and TC’s communication with the public.
Representatives from Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction (PAPC) and TC said they understood the issues over safety and wanted to resolve any problems. PAPC will build Sections 6 and 7 the pipeline that will pass south of Burns Lake and Houston.
“Following the first consideration of the temporary use permit [on Sept. 19], Coastal GasLink, along with the regulators and other levels of government, worked and engaged with the board and various stakeholders to address the concerns raised, said Cheryl Anderson, Manager of Administrative Services with the RDBN.
Speaking to the meeting on Oct. 24, Kiel Giddens, Public Affairs Manager with TC said the company has been engaging with the road users committee of Morice River Rd.
“We’re working towards formal agreements on road upgrades currently. Any public questions or comments we’ve committed to bringing to that road users committee as well, so we’ll continue to do that,” he said.
Along with the application approval, the RDBN will forward to the Environmental Assessment Office and the Oil and Gas Commission a letter from Northern Health requesting specific health and medical measures be met at the worker camps.
The RDBN also approved a TUP application from TC for a site about 29 km northwest of Vanderhoof and just east of Highway 27.
The permit is for the Clear Creek Stockpile, a 16.70 ha site that TC wants to use for storing pipes, fuel and other materials for the pipeline, which will pass south of the site.
The TUP can last for up to three years and renewals are possible.
All of the camps and storage sites will service the eight sections of the pipeline project, which starts in the Groundbirch area just west of Dawson Creek and runs west to Kitimat.
Unist-ot’en supporter arrested for denying contractor access to pipeline site, The unidentified 29-year-old woman was later released without being charged by Thom Barker, Nov 7, 2019, interiornews.com
Police arrested a Unist’ot’en (Dark House, Wet’suwet’en) supporter yesterday after she attempted to prevent a Coastal GasLink (CGL) contractor from accessing the company’s worksite near Houston.
In a video posted on the Unist’ot’en Camp Facebook page, an unidentified woman is seen explaining to RCMP officers she was simply enforcing a protocol agreement that requires CGL to give advance notice of any vehicles trying to pass through a checkpoint on the Morice River Bridge.
The woman shows the police a list noting the vehicle in question was not present. The officer acknowedges the list but explains she is in violation of a B.C. Supreme Court injunction granting the company access to the property and goes ahead and arrests her.
When confronted by Freda Huson, a Unist’ot’en hereditary spokesperson, the officer again cites the injunction saying the protocol is a civil agreement between the Wet’suwet’en and CGL and that the woman’s actions nevertheless violate the injunction, which he is obligated to uphold.
“Our supporter was unlawfully arrested for enforcing this agreement, while CGL’s contractor violated the protocol and attempted to enter without adequate notice,” the Unist’ot’en Facebook post stated. “Today the RCMP have arrested the person complying with the injunction and not those breaking it.”
The company said it did not have any information on the specific vehicle not being on the list, but in a statement said they are committed to honouring the protocol.
“Coastal GasLink has an access protocol with the Unist’ot’en Camp for the safety and security of the people using the Healing Centre as well as all users of the Morice River Bridge,” the statement said. “The protocol has worked well since it was signed in the spring and we look forward to continuing to engage with Dark House on access and our mutual interest of safety.”
A subsequent Unist’ot’en Facebook post stated the woman had been released with no charges.
An RCMP press release issued this morning at 11:35 a.m. confirmed they had dropped the charges following consultation with CGL. [Why didn’t the RCMP consult with CGL before they harassed an innocent person? Because the intent was to harass and frighten?]
“The 29-year-old woman was processed at the Houston RCMP detachment, and transported to Smithers RCMP detachment to appear before court the following day,” the release stated. “CGL were in contact with the RCMP and, after reviewing the incident, they advised that they had inadvertently not followed an agreement that they had made with the protestor regarding access. Given this information, the RCMP exercised discretion and released the protestor immediately with the understanding that the matter would be resolved between the parties.”
Meanwhile the Unist’ot’en continue to view the incident as politically motivated.
“RCMP say they are “neutral” in the conflict between Unist’ot’en people and industry, but today they re-affirmed that they are anything but,” the second post stated.
“RCMP made this arrest for political reasons. It’s clear that they will target Unist’ot’en people and our supporters under the guise of the injunction, even when Coastal Gaslink has not made any complaint. The RCMP will affect arrests any time we assert any control over our sovereign territories.”
The company said they prefer a cooperative approach.
“The arrest is regrettable,” the CGL statement read. “There remains in place a legal injunction, which is enforceable by the RCMP and whose actions Coastal GasLink does not direct. We believe that having an effective access protocol in place is a much preferable option for all parties. Our top priority is safety – the safety of all road users.”
The RCMP also cited safety with respect to their actions.
“The RCMP would like to remind those who are involved in ongoing protests that police are an impartial party and are there to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” the release said.
“Demonstrators have a right to lawful, peaceful and safe protest and companies have a right to complete their work. The RCMP is working hard to ensure that these rights are protected for everyone and that all parties, contractors, the public, and their properties are kept safe.”
The Unist’ot’en remain opposed to any pipeline work being carried out on their traditional territory.
“Unist’ot’en in no way, shape, or form consent to Coastal GasLink’s invasion or destruction of our unceded territories,” they said. “The reality is that CGL and its contractors are trespassers in violation of Wet’suwet’en, Provincial and Federal law.”
ALC rejects Coastal GasLink work camp behind Vanderhoof airport, Coastal GasLink said they are currently reviewing ALC’s decision to determine next steps by Aman Parhar, Oct 23, 2019, interiornews.com
The work camp that was supposed to be built for the Coastal GasLink project behind the Vanderhoof airport has been rejected by the Agricultural Land Commission. [ACL]
Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen said the council’s intentions are that the camp be built behind the airport and Coastal GasLink should appeal the decision.
The property where the 900-person work camp was to be located is within Agricultural Land Reserve.
Avtar Sundher, director of operations for the Agricultural Land Commission sent a document to The Omineca Express on Monday, Oct. 21, explaining the reasons behind rejecting the work camp at that location. All the information below has been taken from that document.
The district of Vanderhoof applied to the ALC to use 19.3 ha of the 61.7 ha property to build the temporary work camp that would house workers during the construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project. The duration of the proposed temporary use is up to 30 months.
Two issues the panel at ALC considered were whether the proposed camp should be located on the property within the ALR and secondly whether the proposal would impact the agricultural utility of the property.
Coastal GasLink told the ALC that the District offered the location to meet the needs of a large work camp. They also stated that the proposal would bring work and contractors to the area which will result in economic benefits for the district.
However, the panel deciding the fate of the work camp noted the Agricultural Land Commission Act no longer considers economic, social, cultural or regional and community planning objectives and that all decisions must be made through the lens of preserving agricultural land.
On the first issue, whether the proposal should be located on the property within the ALR — the Commission found that the proposal should not be located within the ALR if it can be reasonably located outside the ALR.
The Commission received public comments identifying an alternate site for the camp on land outside the ALR and within a few kilometres of the proposed site.
In response to these comments, Coastal GasLink confirmed the alternative site was considered, but was deemed secondary to the proposed location due to concerns with access through the ALR and wetness issues that would require earthworks.
“The panel did not attempt to determine the viability of the alternate location, noting that the feasibility of locating the camp outside of the ALR does not depend on the viability of just one alternate site. The panel finds that the Applicant has not demonstrated that the camp needs to be located on the Property.”
The second issue was whether the proposed camp would impact the agricultural utility of the property.
The ALC said the property is currently growing barley and is partially forested. Based on the agricultural capability ratings and current use, the panel found the property has secondary agricultural capability.
The proposed site is 19.3 ha out of which 7 ha is currently cleared and 12.3 ha is bush. The work camp would require the entire site to be cleared.
Moreover, Stantec submitted a report saying the proposed area would be reclaimed to an agricultural standard once the non-farm use has concluded. But the panel was concerned the introduction of large quantities of gravel, utilities and compaction necessary to construct the camp will significantly impact the land and create potential difficulties remediating the land.
Lastly, the panel considered public submissions and comments from Coastal GasLink and while they considered the economic benefits of the project, they found those economic considerations are not contributory to the decision. And the agricultural benefits stated by Coastal GasLink do not outweigh the negative impacts to agriculture both on property as well as to neighbouring properties.
So for the reasons mentioned above, the panel refused the proposal.
Suzanne Wilton, Coastal GasLink communications lead said the company is currently reviewing the ALC decision to determine the next steps.
The Coastal GasLink project spans 670 km from Groundbirch, B.C. to the proposed LNG Canada export facility near Kitimat, B.C. Another camp close to Vanderhoof is in Lejac.
RDBN nixes pipeline camp build permit bid by Blair McBride, Sept. 25, 2019, interiornews.com
The board of directors of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has turned down a permit request from TC Energy to build a pipeline work camp near Houston.
… The camp, which CGL has been planning out for more than a year would accommodate up to 800 workers during the pipeline project and the construction, use, and reclamation of the site is expected to last three to four years.
… Under Section 492 of the Local Government Act, TUPs can be issued for temporary uses as long as several conditions are met, including that the use won’t create traffic levels that adversely affect the environment, rural character or property owners and doesn’t require a large financial investment in a particular area, among other conditions.
At its Sept. 19 meeting, the RDBN board considered TC’s application and had recommended that the permit be approved.
However, it was voted down by the board members and criticized in a speech by Bobby Seinen, who lives on Morice River Rd.
Addressing the board, Seinen said the increased road traffic poses safety concerns and other issues.
“It affects the safety and rural character of our area. Traffic is 24-7. There are 11 school-age children that must be driven to and from school twice a day on that road. We would like a legacy. That road has been slated to be re-surfaced since at least 2005. It is down to sub-grade. Two hundred and fifty vehicles go up and down that road a day, often in convoys and do not follow the road users radio protocols,” she said.
Seinen also complained that she hasn’t been invited to safety meetings of the road users management group and has received little communication from CGL regarding the road.
“I would expect the regional district to support me in being able to be a part of the road safety management group. I don’t feel like I’m getting support from anyone. I feel like Alice in Wonderland knocking on a series of doors and nobody answers.”
In response to Seinen, Electoral Area G director Rob Newell said he agreed with her completely, urged that there be more communication with CGL and wants the safety concerns with the road to be dealt with as soon as possible.
After Seinen left the meeting, James Steffenhagen, Health and Safety Manager with Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction (PAPC) spoke to the board and recognized her concerns.
“We’re not in the business to put anybody in danger. When we do a construction site or a pipeline it is to make sure that our workers are safe and that anybody in the area is not put in danger,” he said.
PAPC has been contracted to build the two sections of the CGL pipeline that run south of Burns Lake and west to just before Kitimat.
CGL representative and assistant construction manager David Jonasson also spoke to the board and said the company takes the safety issues raised by Seinen seriously. [Companies sound like broken records, always preaching with identical promises that are rarely, if ever, kept]
“There are concerns with increased traffic along that road,” he said. “We realize that poses certain challenges. We have been engaged by Canfor to participate in the road users committee. It’s concerning that we hear these woman’s issues. We’re going to use that committee as a forum to address them. We want to do anything we can to improve them.”
Gladys Atrill, a director from Smithers, said she wants to know what steps the company is taking to address local citizens’ concerns.
“People have to be sensitive that it’s a residential area. The overriding responsibility is to the citizens in the area,” she said.
In an email to Lakes District News, a CGL spokesperson said the company is “reviewing the decision by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako on a permit application made by Coastal GasLink to understand and determine next steps.”
Though the permit request was defeated, it could be brought back for consideration at a future meeting.
Refer also to: