Gateway Pipeline verdict solidifies Spirt of the Coast purpose

The federal government’s endorsement Tuesday of the Enbridge pipeline through B.C. comes as no surprise to a team of canoeists paddling between Fort Langley and Alaska.

The team that makes up the Spirit of the Coast Canoe Journey, led by Pitt Meadows skipper Chris Cooper, is making the excursion in large part to bring attention to the B.C. coastline, and to make people more aware of what is potentially at risk if the pipeline goes ahead.

Kwantlen First Nations artist Brandon Gabriel from Fort Langley, who is among the core group of canoeists making the entire 1,300-kilometre three-month journey, said he wasn’t shocked.

“Well, we anticipated this. All the more reason for us to be where we are,” Gabriel said. “It just gives this journey more meaning, and I am already fielding phone calls from friends up north who are anticipating our arrival in the coming weeks.”

The team entered its 19th day of travel Thursday, when they were expected to depart Rock Bay, heading north.

The trip thus far has been eventful, in large part due to the weather – an in particular high winds.

The latest hurdle was the loss of the journey’s primary vessel, the Chief of the River canoe, as well as a support sailboat and two kayaks last week.

Contrary to superstition, Friday the 13th was a lucky day for the team, said Cooper’s wife Barbara.

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