A BC Hydro Media Relations press release July 7 says a new poll finds growing support for the Site C hydro-electric dam project on the Peace River that will flood a large area of the Peace River Valley in the province’s northeast. It says 59 per cent support and 22 per cent can accept Site C. Those opposed total 17 per cent. B.C. has approved the $8.8 billion dam, despite lawsuits proceeding through the courts against the project. Province-wide awareness of Site C has increased to 75 per cent of British Columbians, reads the survey. The telephone poll of 1,038 people took place from June 10 to 19.
On July 9, the Chiefs-in-Assembly at the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Meeting in Montreal passed “Emergency AFN Resolution 39/2015, Site C Hydroelectric Dam on the Peace River.” It calls on the provincial and federal governments to immediately cease proceeding with the proposed Site C Dam project, even though environmental approvals and permits have been issued.
Treaty 8 First Nations have applied for judicial review of the project, stating the proposed Site C project infringes on the treaty rights of the Treaty 8 First Nations. The Federal Appeal begins the week of July 20.
The B.C. government and BC Hydro have ignored the requests of the Treaty 8 Nations to put construction on hold until the outcomes of the court proceedings are known, read a press statement from the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. “Site C will destroy and flood over 5,000 hectares of Treaty 8 First Nation territories. Site C is a threat to Treaty 8 First Nations’ ability to exercise their constitutionally-protected Treaty and Aboriginal rights and will leave an irreversible and irrevocable wound on the land,” said Chief Judy Wilson of Neskonlith Indian Band, who presented and moved the resolution. “These premeditated actions will forever affect BC’s interactions with First Nations.”
Earlier in July, the Greater Vancouver Regional District (Metro Vancouver) called for a two-year moratorium on construction of Site C. On July 3, the president of UBCIC, Chief Stewart Phillip, made a presentation to Metro Vancouver. “If construction begins on Site C, it will be an obvious message that this government has deliberately ignored constitutionally-protected Aboriginal Title, Rights, and Treaty Rights. The BC government is hoping either Treaty 8 First Nations expend all of their energy and means to defend their territories in the courts or concede their rights for agreements that minimizes any benefits to Treaty 8 First Nations and absolves the government of any and all liabilities. UBCIC will always support Treaty 8 First Nations and, if necessary, I personally pledge that I will stand with the peoples of Treaty 8 and of the Peace Valley in front of bulldozers and dump trucks to prevent this project from proceeding.”