MEDIA ADVISORY: Lytton Ferry Dispute – Two Hour Blockade on Trans-Canada Highway

July 11, 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM – Lytton, BC - South Junction, Highways 1 and 12
(Vancouver/Coast Salish Territory) Residents of the Lytton First Nation and Village of Lytton will block Highway 1 on July 11 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM to demonstrate their deep concerns with the ongoing Lytton Ferry dispute. Tomorrow’s blockade action will occur on the 17th anniversary of the Mohawk crisis at Oka, Quebec. Local and emergency traffic will be allowed through.

Chief Byron Spinks, Lytton First Nation, Mayor Chris O’Connor, Village of Lytton and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs will be participating in this action.

As a start of an ongoing and escalating situation, an information picket was organized on July 10 providing motorists information about the VSA Highway Maintenance strike, which began April 23, 2007. The strike has crippled the ferry service which is the only link between the communities on the west side of the Fraser River to the Village of Lytton and Highway 1. The blockade is the next necessary step.

The ferry service is an essential service for 400 residents who rely on this ferry on a daily basis for health, social and safety reasons. Communities were never properly consulted to reflect the appropriate essential service level for the ferry service. Without the ferry the alternatives are an access routes are a four-hour detour along a rough logging road or illegally walking across a long, narrow and elevated railway bridge outside the reserve.

The closure of the Lytton Ferry due to the VSA strike is a highly dangerous and unacceptable. The BC Government must immediately intervene and declare the Lytton Ferry Service to be an essential service.

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For more information:
Chief Byron Spinks (250) 455-2740 or (250) 455-2304
Mayor Chris O’Connor (250) 455-2355 or (250) 455-2561
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (250) 490-5314 or (250) 455-2304

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.