Site C dam protesters in B.C. prepare for arrests

VANCOUVER - First Nations protesting the construction of the $9-billion Site C dam in northeastern British Columbia are preparing for their own arrests while they implore Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intervene to stop the hydroelectric project.

See Full Article

Helen Knott of the Prophet River First Nation said in an interview from the protest site that she and six other demonstrators are camped at Rocky Mountain Fort, the former site of a North West Company fur-trading post established in 1794 on the west side of the Moberly River, near Fort St. John.

RCMP said they arrested three protesters on Wednesday who had been blocking an access road needed by BC Hydro crews to begin work in the creation of the dam that will be the third on the Peace River. The dam will create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir and flood the area where the protesters are camping.

BC Hydro and Power Authority has issued an eviction notice, warning protesters that all contents of the camp set up on Dec. 31 will be removed and delivered to the RCMP.

Knott said the protesters are hunkering down and weathering snow and temperatures as low as -20 C, awaiting the possibility of arrest.

"It's not necessarily anybody goes into it with that idea, like 'yeah, we're going to be arrested,' right? It's that, 'yeah, we're committed to saving this tract of land and to, you know, actively use our treaty rights here," she said.

Knott said she would rather not be arrested but is willing to be at the camp and take a stand on an issue in which she believes.

Several First Nations and local residents have filed legal challenges over the dam, raising concerns about flooding and the impact the lake will create.

Art Napoleon of the Saulteau First Nation said in a phone interview from Victoria that the lake will flood the historic site and other sacred areas.

"That whole area was a culturally significant area for us, for hunting, trapping, fishing, gathering, a lot of history, all of our history, so that's our cultural institution and it's being raped, and it's still not enough," he said, adding he hopes Trudeau can get involved.

"Well, I don't know what exactly he can do but it's worth a shot, isn't it?," said Napoleon. "I believe we're after the possibility of ... governments taking a more-serious look at some of the alternatives that have been presented. They look pretty dam viable to me."

He said protesters still think smaller dams, and maybe even under water dams with turbines, are alternatives.

Peace River Valley resident Verena Hofmann said earlier this week that critics of the dam have asked Trudeau to reassess the environmental approval that was grated by the former federal Conservative government.

BC Hydro spokesman Craig Fitzsimmons has said the Crown corporation respects the rights of individuals to peacefully protest and express their opinions in a safe and lawful manner. He said Hydro hopes the issue can be resolved and it is in discussions with protesters.

The protest camp is in a remote area. Knott said once protesters leave the main highway, they must drive on rough, secondary roads for 90 minutes to two hours, before making another seven-kilometre trip by foot or snowmobile.

BC Hydro announced in December it would pay the Peace River Hydro Partners $1.75 billion to build the earthen dam, foundation, two diversion tunnels and spillways.

The partners are ACCIONA Infrastructure Canada Inc., Petrowest Corporation and Samsung C&T Canada Ltd.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Ontario man in U.S. custody faces more child sex exploitation charges in Canada

    Canada News CTV News
    MARKHAM, Ont. -- Ontario Provincial Police say a Canadian man charged in the U.S. after allegedly flying to Atlanta in an attempt to have sex with an underage girl he met online will face further charges in Canada. Source
  • Minor clashes as Trump protesters flood downtown Phoenix

    World News CBC News
    Protesters got into minor scuffles and shouting matches with U.S. President Donald Trump supporters on Tuesday as hundreds of people lined up to get inside a Phoenix, Ariz., rally that marks his first political event since the violence in Charlottesville, Va. Source
  • Charlottesville votes to cover Confederate statues

    World News Toronto Sun
    The Charlottesville City Council voted to drape two Confederate statues in black fabric during a chaotic meeting packed with irate residents who screamed and cursed at councillors over the city’s response to a white nationalist rally. The anger at Monday night’s meeting, during which three people were arrested, forced the council to abandon its agenda and focus instead on the tragedy. Source
  • Russia says European leaders support truce in east Ukraine

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- The Kremlin says the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France have spoken in support of a new attempt to secure a lasting cease-fire for eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin says in a statement that Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Emmanuel Macron of France and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke in a conference call Tuesday and welcomed a plan to try to ensure a lasting cease-fire timed to the beginning of the new school year. Source
  • Heritage status doesn't mean Glen Abbey golf course can't be built over: expert

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- An Ontario town voted this week to designate one of Canada's most famous golf courses a heritage site, but one expert says the status doesn't necessarily protect Glen Abbey's greens from being turned into a housing development. Source
  • Ottawa under tornado watch as city hit by hail, intense winds

    Canada News CTV News
    A tornado watch is in effect for Ottawa and surrounding communities as heavy rain, intense winds and hail pummeled the capital city on Tuesday. Environment Canada issued the tornado watch and thunderstorm warning for Ottawa north, Ottawa south, Kanata, Orleans, Richmond and Metcalfe. Source
  • Severe storm batters southeastern Ontario; tornado watch ends

    Canada News CTV News
    A tornado watch has ended after a major storm pounded Ottawa and parts of Quebec with heavy rain, intense winds and hail. Residents in the Niagara region are still being warned of a severe thunderstorm that can produce large hail, damaging wind gusts and “torrential downpours. Source
  • Missouri governor halts man’s execution after DNA questions

    World News Toronto Sun
    ST. LOUIS — Attorneys for a Missouri inmate scheduled for execution Tuesday warn that the state is preparing to execute a potentially innocent man. Marcellus Williams, 48, was convicted of fatally stabbing former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Lisha Gayle during a 1998 robbery at her home in the suburb of University City. Source
  • White House renews request for privacy for Trump's young son

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The White House on Tuesday renewed its request to the news media for privacy for U.S. President Donald Trump's young son, Barron, after a conservative news and opinion website criticized the casual attire he wore home after the family's summer vacation. Source
  • Lexus-only parking reversal: Calgary airport apologizes after replacing accessible spots for luxury car owners

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Calgary International Airport has apologized for moving parking stalls reserved for those with disabilities and setting up a Lexus marketing campaign in their place. The pavement in the parking spots close to the terminal had recently been painted to indicate they were reserved for drivers of the luxury car. Source