Prince George – First Nation leaders from across northern BC met last week to discuss their concerns over the approach of industry and federal and provincial governments to major resource development in their traditional lands.
The Site C Dam project in northeastern BC and the siting of the Pacific Northwest LNG plant on the Skeena Estuary were among the topics discussed.
“The approach taken by the province to the Site C project has ignored our rights and title, and recent and past court decisions,” said Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nations. “Continuing down this path will only foster conflict, resentment and delay truly sustainable economic development.”
Chief Na Moks, representing the Wet’suwet’en Nation, added, “The decision to site a massive LNG plant atop the most critical salmon habitat on the Skeena illustrates just how broken governments approach to major project development is. If you were to pick the worst place on the entire coast to site an LNG plant, it would be Lelu Island and Flora Bank. This project will impact the interests and rights of all First Nations on the Skeena.”
Verne Jackson representing Kaien Island elders added, “We simply cannot allow Petronas to ignore the importance of the Flora Bank/Lelu Island area to our communities. As parents, grandparents and elders we are compelled to voice our concerns and take action.”
Northern First Nations are continuing their discussions in regard to these issues and will be issuing a joint statement in early September at a press conference in Vancouver.