This story has been revised from its original online version and also revised from the Wednesday, Feb. 3 print edition as of Tuesday at 5 p.m. The Northern View regrets any errors.
As contractors complete work around Lelu Island for a potential LNG facility operated by Pacific NorthWest LNG, protesters that have taken up occupation around the area have allegedly escalated their presence, harming individuals who are in the vicinity.
Last Thursday, Prince Rupert RCMP confirmed reports that an incident took place out on the water where the protesters were located.
Unconfirmed reports circulated that protestors’ skiffs rammed a vessel called the ‘Glacial Mist’, a shuttle boat for workers going back and forth to the mainland, and they attempted to ram a Port of Prince Rupert vessel, the ‘Charles Hays’, but were unsuccessful.
Additionally, one protester was alleged to have boarded the dock of a working barge illegally.
Prince Rupert RCMP would not confirm the specifics of the incidents, but they have open files on the case from that day.
“We did attend that area with one of our patrol vessels and police do have an active investigation going on into those incidents and we continue to investigate as time goes by,” said Prince Rupert RCMP Sgt. Dave Uppal on Friday.
The police presence had left as of Friday, but Uppal stated that they would return should activity escalate once again.
“If required [and] we receive a call for service, we will definitely look into it,” he said.
RCMP already have open files in that area pertaining to theft, vandalism, and threatening behaviour and the sergeant stated that each one is inspected on its own, and no charges have been laid in last week’s confrontations.
“Those matters are being investigated independently of everything else. Nobody’s been arrested at this time and we’ll continue to look into the matters,” said Uppal.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority was disturbed to hear of the incidents, and have been dealing with protests in the area for months now, but this is the first time that the danger level has reached this high a level, said Michael Gurney, manager of corporate communications at the Port.
“Since the start of protest activities in Prince Rupert’s outer harbour, the Port Authority has been working with its partners, like the RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard, to ensure that site research activities continue in a respectful and safe environment for all parties involved. Unfortunately the actions by some opponents of the work have escalated from verbal confrontations, threats and vandalism to life-threatening misconduct on the water, endangering themselves and other users of the harbour. Our focus remains on preserving a safe environment for all parties and we are very concerned by the irresponsibility of recent actions,” Gurney said.