Police aware of planned blockade of Pat Bay Hwy
VICTORIA -- Police on Vancouver Island say they are aware of a plan to shut down a major highway north of Victoria on Wednesday.
Multiple social media posts are calling for protesters to mass on the Pat Bay Highway from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The highway is the main north-south traffic artery between Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula communities of Sidney, North Saanich, Brentwood Bay and Swartz Bay.
The protest is allegedly being planned in support of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposed to construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C.
The social media posts ask attendees to bring signs and drums, and say all are welcome to attend.
DriveBC issued an advisory Tuesday warning about thew protest, saying "there will be a significant traffic disruption between Exit 19: Island View Rd and Exit 21: Mt Newton Cross Rd."
Saanich police and Central Saanich police say they are aware of the planned action on the highway and will monitor the situation to update the public as it unfolds.
"The indication to us is it's around the Mount Newton area, which is where the Highway 17 cuts through the Tsawout First Nations reserve," said Central Saanich police Sgt. Paul Brailey.
Brailey is advising anyone who needs to catch a flight or take a ferry, to go early, and advises motorists to avoid the area or take an alternate route, if possible.
He also encourages protesters to use the overpass and highway shoulders to get their message across, instead of blocking the roadway, noting the intersection is a major access route for those trying to get to Saanich Peninsula Hospital.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Tuesday that police would be "moving in" to respond to road and rail blockades sprouting up across Canada.