Victoria – Opposition energy critic John Horgan submitted a declaration from 23 First Nations into the BC Legislature opposing the development of the Site C Dam, a large-scale hydroelectric project proposed by the government.
The earth-fill dam – estimated to cost $6.6-billion – would be the third dam on thein the northeastern part of the province.
In September, representatives from 23 First Nations from across BC, Alberta and the Northwest Territories drafted and signed this historic declaration in opposition to Site C.
“The Wilderness Committee stands united with the Treaty 8 First Nations in their fight against this mammoth development,” said Tria Donaldson, Pacific Coast Campaigner at the Wilderness Committee, who has repeatedly spoken out against the project. “The Treaty 8 people are still feeling the impacts of the first two mega-dams in their tradition territories. Building the 60-meter high Site C Dam will would flood over 100 km of the Peace River valley, drowning a land area equal to 14 Stanley Parks. It will further fragment the valley’s ecosystem, and forever destroy valuable agricultural land, wildlife corridors and Treaty 8 First Nations’ hunting, fishing, and trapping grounds.”
The declaration was wrapped in a traditional birch-bark container, made from trees growing in the flood zone of the proposed dam. It was carried from the Peace River in Northeastern BC to Victoria by over 60 First Nations elders and leaders, who traveled along with farmers and ranchers, to the Legislature for the Paddle to the Premier Rally.
“Last September I stood on the lawn of the Legislature with elders and leaders from the Treaty 8 First Nations and listened to Tribal Chief Liz Logan read the declaration. No one was there from government to greet them or accept the declaration, despite our repeated invitations,” said Donaldson. “Today’s submission of the Declaration into the House officially puts the government on notice that First Nations are united against a project that will irreparably damage the environment and a way of life.”
For more on this issue, see The Tyee‘s comprehensive coverage in The Case Against the Site C Dam.