Secwepemc protesters arrive at the Mission Flats camp on Oct. 3, where they vow to remain during their bid to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. (Facebook photo via Kamloops This Week)

Secwepemc protesters arrive at the Mission Flats camp on Oct. 3, where they vow to remain during their bid to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. (Facebook photo via Kamloops This Week)

Permanent protest camp established near Trans Mountain work site in Kamloops

The sole goal of the encampment is to stop the pipeline twinning project, organizers say

  • Oct. 5, 2020 4:00 p.m.

–– Kamloops This Week

Secwépemc protesters have settled in for the long haul in a bid to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project from being completed in Kamloops.

On Saturday (Oct. 3), a group of about 20 people set up what they call a permanent camp along the shores of the Thompson River, off Mission Flats Road and near a pipeline worksite.

The encampment is located in the same area where a Secwépemc man held a vision quest and fast in protest of the pipeline at the end of August.

Miranda Dick, a spokesperson for the camp, told KTW the sole goal of the encampment is to stop the pipeline twinning project.

Asked what protesters are prepared to do to achieve that, Dick replied: “Everything.”

Dick was also involved in the vision quest protest and was present when another Secwépemc woman chained herself to a fence near a Trans Mountain worksite at Kamloops Airport in September. That woman was arrested, charged and released.

Some of the protesters gathered at the permanent camp plan to remain there around the clock, while others have morning or night shifts, Dick said, noting Secwépemc elders, youth and a couple of teachers are among the group.

There were three vehicles and a motorcycle parked off Mission Flats Road west of Domtar on Monday morning, near where the encampment has been set up. KTW observed three people moving firewood from the end of the road back to camp, which this newspaper was not permitted to visit.

Photos of the encampment online show a couple of tents along the shores of the river.

The encampment is blocking the pipeline route, but so far no one from Trans Mountain or the RCMP has made contact with the protesters, Dick told KTW.

Trans Mountain has a B.C. Supreme Court injunction prohibiting the obstruction of access to the company’s worksites.

Dick said the protesters are not violating that court order as it only applies to impeding work. Asked if protesters are currently impeding the work, Dick replied: “Not right now.” Asked if they plan to do so, Dick said she did not know.

“I can’t incriminate myself,” she said.

Dick said the question that should be asked is what action is Trans Mountain willing to take toward the people?

“What means and necessity would they need to be putting this pipeline through our territory? There’s no consultation and no consent,” she said.

Work at the Trans Mountain site on Mission Flats Road, which is about 500 metres from the protesters, appeared to be ongoing without disruption on Monday morning.

KTW is awaiting a response from Trans Mountain regarding the protest.

During the vision quest protest, the company said it was not taking any action as construction activity was not being obstructed. Trans Mountain noted it respects the right to peaceful, lawful expressions of opinions.

The encampment is located near where a portion of the new pipeline will be pulled underneath the river using a drilling process.

Dick said the protesters speak for all Secwépemc people, arguing their lands cannot be surrendered or ceded by anyone.

Asked how they can speak for all Secwépemc people when there are those among the Secwépemc in favour of the pipeline twinning project — including individuals and elected band councils — Dick said there are those who have been “bought and paid for through Indian Affairs” who must support the project as some bands have signed benefit agreements with Trans Mountain.

One of those bands includes Tk’emlups te Secwépemc, which has a $3-million deal with the company.

Online, the protesters invited all supporters to join them at the camp to help stop the project.

“We love our land our water our wild salmon our People, ourselves and we defend what sustains us and what will sustain our future generations,” states the Facebook page We the Secwépemc: Virtual Unity Camp to stop Trans Mountain Pipeline.

The post states the RCMP, province and “any other agents of the state or court” have no jurisdiction on unceded Secwépemc territory and no injunction has been issued that applies to the ceremonial occupation site on the river.

“No one can own the river, the water way and we move ahead with the full force of our ancestors and with love for the land,” the post states.

Dick said the group is not affiliated with the Tiny House Warriors — a number of Secwépemc members opposed to the pipeline expansion project. They are now based near Blue River, where they are building tiny houses they plan to place in the path of the pipeline expansion route.

Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Tran Mountain Pipeline

Just Posted

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Hirsch Creek Golf Course Volunteer, Augie Penner, talking about how he continues the tradition, set by Joe Atamchuck, to catch and release fry that keep spawning at the course. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
VIDEO: Kitimat golf course volunteers making moves for the fishlings

During the highwater season, salmon are known to lay their eggs in the ponds at the golf course

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to whale research, conservation initiative

Ocean Wise education team will work alongside educational and Indigenous leaders in the area

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

Most Read