FORT ELLIS, N.S. — The RCMP have closed a rural road north of Halifax where protesters appear to be blocking a construction site, saying officers with body cameras will be enforcing an injunction that orders the demonstrators to move away from the site’s main gate.
The blockade at Fort Ellis, N.S., was set up more than two years ago by Indigenous protesters and supporters opposed to a plan by Alton Gas Storage to build large underground caverns to store natural gas near Stewiacke.
“The Nova Scotia RCMP is impartial in this dispute and respects the Indigenous culture and their connection to Mother Earth along with the company’s lawful right to complete its mandated work,” the Mounties said in a statement Wednesday.
The protesters are afraid the nearby Shubenacadie River will be polluted if the company moves ahead with its plan to flush out underground salt deposits 12 kilometres away and then dump the brine into the river.
Last month, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia issued a temporary injunction against the demonstrators, saying they have to move to a nearby fenced-in area along Riverside Road.
Residents of the Stewiacke area are being told they may notice an increased police presence in the area.
However, the Mounties say they are hopeful the dispute can be resolved through talks involving the RCMP’s specially trained Division Liaison Team.
“Should that not happen and demonstrators continue to occupy the site at the main entrance to the natural gas project, thus disobeying the court ordered-injunction, the RCMP will enforce the order,” the RCMP statement says.
“Our primary goal is the safety and security of all involved while preserving the right to peaceful, lawful and safe demonstration within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction order.”
The Canadian Press