People paint a banner at the Truckhouse Solidarity Tent in Halifax on May 31 2017. Photo: Local Xpress
On Wednesday, following Nova Scotia’s provincial election, Solidarity With Alton Gas Resistance (SWAGR) hosted the first Truckhouse Solidarty Tent in Halifax. The purpose of this tent was to create a space in Halifax for people to gather, learn about Alton Gas, and act in resistance together – similar to what the truckhouse on the Shubenacadie River is often used for.
A truckhouse is building used for trade, and has an important history. Having a truckhouse on the Shubenacadie River is a Mi’kmaq right protected by the Peace and Friendship treaties of the 1700s. In the summer of 2016, Mi’kmaq in the Sipekne'katik district, supported by non-Indigenous friends, built a truckhouse to both directly exercise a treaty right and to maintain a constant presence on the river next to the Alton Gas project site. Since then, the truckhouse has become a hub of the Stop Alton Gas movement.
The Local Xpress reported on the truckhouse solidarity tent:
Robin Tress, of the Council of Canadians, and members of SWAGR… set up shop on a midweek evening in front of the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road to share information about the perceived dangers of the project.
“This project exposes a huge amount of risk to water, huge risk to climate and our energy system and it completely disregards indigenous rights,” Tress said as passersby stopped to ask questions and look at photos of the truck house gathering place that the Mi’kmaq community built just beyond the company’s fences at the river site.
“Every stage of the project risks water in its own special way,” Tress said. “Making the caverns produces a huge amount of salt brine which is saltier than seawater. It has to be pumped across farmers’ fields through a pipeline and then be pumped into the Shubenacadie River. That on its own is risking the river and the land that the pipeline is going over because if it bursts, then you have a farm full of salt.”
She said when the caverns are created, they will be filled with high-pressure natural gas with a good possibility of leakage into the groundwater system.
“In North America, projects like this have a 60 per cent fail rate. Gas is leaking at some point, something is catching on fire, something is going quite seriously wrong. Why would we take those chances here?
“My question is how many jobs is this project going to create versus how many is it going to risk. There are already people working in fishing, there are already people who have businesses in that area. How many of those actual jobs that exist today will be at risk or will be lost because of this project.”
The truckhouse solidarity tent created space in Halifax to meet and discuss the many issues with the Alton Gas project, and to demonstrate solidarity with frontline water protectors on the Shubenacadie River. Photo: Local Xpress.