(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – July 23, 2015) On July 22, Treaty 8 First Nations (Doig River, Prophet River, and West Moberly First Nations) began their Federal Court legal challenge against BC Hydro’s proposed Site C hydroelectric dam and will continue making their case today.
Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations, stated “We are on record time and time again clearly expressing our concerns with the proposed Site C project. After meaningfully engaging with the Crown including putting forth alternatives that would save the Peace River Valley from destruction, they approved the dam. The Site C dam would have a devastating impact on the Peace River Valley, a place vital to continuing the practice of our Treaty Rights. It would also destroy a large number of archaeological and heritage sites, highly productive farmland, and force the relocation of families living there.”
Treaty 8 First Nations have applied for judicial review of the Crown’s decision to support the project, stating the proposed Site C project infringes on the Treaty Rights of the Treaty 8 First Nations. The BC government and BC Hydro have ignored the requests of Treaty 8 First Nations to put construction on hold until the outcomes of the court proceedings are known.
“Site C is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a done deal,” declared Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, warning, “BC Hydro had better pay close attention to the Federal Court’s upcoming decision regarding approval for Site C and to the increasing opposition from British Columbians as they learn the facts. The UBCIC unequivocally supports Treaty 8 First Nations in their opposition to the proposed Site C dam project and their assessment that the proposed project is a threat to their ability to exercise their constitutionally-protected Treaty rights, and to the survival of their culture and people.”
Yesterday, the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA) announced its appeal of the BC Supreme Court ruling dismissing its court challenge of the environmental assessment certificate for Site C dam. Farmer Ken Boon, President of the PVLA stated “My wife and I are third-generation grain and hay farmers in the Peace River Valley. BC Hydro’s plan is to flood our property and destroy it. We will be holding BC Ministers accountable to the environmental assessment legislation, and ensuring that they consider its recommendations both in the case of Site C and throughout BC as a whole. We are proud to stand in support of the Treaty 8 First Nations as they protect this beautiful, irreplaceable and sacred territory.”
Many individuals are standing in solidarity with the T8FNs and have already donated close to $75,000 towards their legal fund. The Victoria-based non-profit charitable organization RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) is managing the T8FNs’ Join the Circle fundraising campaign. For more information or to make a donation go to: nosite-c.com.
Chief Roland Willson, Treaty 8 First Nations (West Moberly): (250) 788-3622
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (604) 684-0231