The detachment commander from the Trail and Greater District RCMP is reporting that border crossings will not be prevented this weekend by the Kootenay Freedom Convoy protest group camping near the Paterson border.
“They will be having an event this weekend but will not prevent any border crossings,” Sgt. Mike Wicentowich advised Wednesday afternoon. “There will be people in the area and on the road, but (they) intend to move for vehicles.”
Wicentowich, however, recommends the public be prepared for a slower crossing between noon and 4 p.m. this weekend, or avoid the area all together.
He says the Waneta and Nelway border crossings should be unaffected by protests.
“The Trail RCMP can be contacted to facilitate border crossings if required or managing any other issue that may arise due to this protest, including the enforcement of the law,” Wicentowich added.
“We will be regularly attending the border crossing this weekend and liaising with our CBSA (Canada Border Service Agency) counterparts to monitor the situation.”
Man arrested for blocking highway at Paterson Border Crossing near Rossland
The afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 12, a group had blockaded the Paterson Border Crossing as part of a planned peaceful protest.
At 4:30 p.m., frontline Trail and Greater District RCMP officers responded to a report of three trucks blocking Highway 22. A 32-year-old Mirror Lake man was arrested for Mischief contrary to Section 430 of the Criminal Code for interfering with the lawful use of the highway. He was later released without charge.
Trail RCMP officers met with the event organizer onsite who immediately arranged for the removal of the trucks blocking the road. Police were advised that the group plans to maintain a long-term presence at the location and will once again block the crossing next weekend on February 19 and 20.
“Trail RCMP would like to extend our thanks to the event coordinator who helped keep the protest lawful, peaceful, and safe, with minimum disruptions to the local area,” says Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.
“We respect individuals exercising their democratic right to protest and we have appreciated the open dialogue with organizers and opposition to maintain peace and order between all parties. Trail RCMP would also like to thank the dedicated CBSA agents who worked in partnership with the RCMP throughout the weekend to maintain law and order at the Paterson Border Crossing.”
Members of the public should anticipate traffic disruptions and detours in effect in the area, and are encouraged to check for road closure information on Drivebc.ca, and monitor local media for information and alternate routes.