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CONTRIBUTION · 2nd April 2012
Renee Bernard - News 1130
Kitimat Daily Note - At 4:45 am pst April 2, the NEB JRP sent an email advising of their cancellation of the Bella Bella Hearings with this short statement an no explanation.

"The Panel will not be sitting on Monday, April 2, 2012 in Bella Bella, BC."

News 1130 posted the following story just before midnight April 1, 2012.

Joint Review Panel cites security concerns.

The Enbridge pipeline hearings scheduled for the coastal town of Bella Bella have been cancelled.

It appears the Joint Review Panel, tasked with listening to oral submissions in BC and Alberta, has concerns over security.

"They feel they are not in a safe environment. That was based on the reception at the airport," announced Heiltsuk First Nation Chief Marilynn Slett to a community gathering on Sunday. "We have received a notice from the Joint Review Panel that they will not be proceeding with the planned sessions."

Earlier in the day, the review panel flew into Bella Bella, in advance of four days of hearings in that coastal community.

A large crowd greeted the panel on the tarmac, and protesters also lined the road into town.

"What we did at the airport was very respectful, strong. It was emotional and powerful but it was respectful and peaceful," says Slett.

NDP MLA Gary Coons says he flew in with the panel, and thought protesters who greeted them were respectful. "I am a bit shocked and surprised that the panel might pull out of the community because they felt threatened somewhere along the line. I couldn't see where."

"There are some meetings scheduled for the morning and I hope calmer heads prevail and we can continue the process," he adds.

"We want to let them know that they are completely safe in our community. It is really offensive to have to go over to convey this to the Joint Review Panel. We are a peaceful people," insists Slett.

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