Coastal GasLink protesters end blockade at ferry terminal

Marco Green
January 23, 2020

Two BC Ferries sailings are delayed due to a protest blocking the Swartz Bay ferry terminal north of Victoria.

A blockade by land and water in support of the Wet'suwet'en against the Coastal GasLink has reportedly blocked Highway 17 traffic from accessing BC Ferries' Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island.

The protesters set up the highway blockade in response to a call to action issued by members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nations opposing the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project in northern BC. "I'm sure there were some customers inconvenienced that had places to be or somewhere to go on that 7:00am sailing out of Swartz Bay this morning".

The terminal reopened as the protest ended around 9 a.m., and traffic started flowing again.

The BC Ferries website showed the first sailing of the day from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on the mainland departed just after 9:30 a.m.

BC Ferries is the target of Monday's blockade due to its ties to the liquified natural gas industry, say protesters in a statement.

Kolin Sutherland-Wilson, a spokesperson for the Swartz Bay demonstration, said the grassroots protest was comprised of young people, students and Indigenous allies from across the province.

"At one point we said, 'Oh boy. That doesn't look good, '" she said, speaking by phone from her spot in traffic.

"Thankfully it is over", Marshall said.

"To us it's completely unacceptable how B.C.is handling the situation because Premier Horgan should be talking to the hereditary chiefs as they are the rightful decision makers for that territory", Sutherland-Wilson said. The project runs through Wet'suwet'en traditional territory.

Last week, RCMP blocked access to Wet'suwet'en territory, heightening tensions between government officials and hereditary chiefs. "Our service is essential to connect communities and commerce".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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