Market Overview

First Nations Appeal Site C Water Licences to Environmental Appeal Board


FORT ST. JOHN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 31, 2016) - The West Moberly First Nations and Prophet River First Nation have filed an appeal of the main water licences for the Site C Project with the Environmental Appeal Board.

The water licences authorize the diversion and storage of water behind the proposed Site C dam, including the creation of an 83 km-long reservoir. The water licences were issued on February 26, 2016, following a written hearing process conducted by the Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights.

"Site C is an infringement of our Treaty. We have serious concerns about the effects of the flooding on groundwater, erosion, the impacts on Treaty rights, fish and wildlife habitat and safety," said West Moberly Chief Roland Willson. "All of our concerns were dismissed or diminished. There was there no urgency to issue these approvals, given that none of the power from Site C is needed at all."

The First Nations also requested that they be involved in ongoing management and mitigation of the impacts of Site C through a direct decision-making role in BC Hydro's Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program or a similar program. The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program is responsible for carrying out research and supporting recovery efforts to deal with the severe environmental effects of BC's hydroelectric dams. It is run by BC Hydro, with limited input from First Nations.

"The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program doesn't reflect the needs and interests of the First Nations people who are most affected by hydroelectric development," said Prophet River Chief Lynette Tsakoza. "We asked to be more directly involved in the program for Site C, but that request was ignored."

The Environmental Appeal Board is an independent tribunal that hears appeals on decisions under various environmental legislation in British Columbia. A hearing date has not yet been set.

The West Moberly First Nations
Chief Roland Willson
1 (250) 783-0733

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