The hereditary chiefs of Lelu Island have responded to a Prince Rupert Port Authority demand they halt protest camp construction.
Hereditary chiefs, Simoyget Yahaan (Donnie Wesley) and Gwishawaal (Ken Lawson) have officially responded to demands from the Port of Prince Rupert, that occupiers of Lelu Island in protest of the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal, halt construction activities.
A letter signed by both chiefs is addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, and New Democrat Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.
Wesley and Lawson say, “given the seriousness of issues at hand,” they are choosing not to directly reply to the Port Authority’s demands – instead asking the federal government if it agrees with the cease and desist letter.
The letter also asks Trudeau, “specifically do you support the actions of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, acting on behalf of your government, to try to remove a peaceful camp on Lelu Island under the threat of legal action and the potential pursuit of legal costs should we not comply?”
Wesley and Lawson also ask the Prime Minister if the port’s demands are, “an adequate and/or legally satisfactory execution of (the) government’s duty to consult and accommodate with Aboriginal people in Canada?”
Since last summer, a group of protestors have been occupying the island and have begun constructing a protest camp.
In the original news release on Monday morning, President and C-E-O Don Krusel says the port is exercising its right as administrator of federal crown lands on Lelu, and is instructing the protestors to stop construction activities.
The release says the port has reserved the right to require that existing structures be dismantled and all contents be removed from the island.
The port’s Commuications Manager Michael Gurney says the structures pose a risk of damage to the proposed project as well as raising safety concernes.
“The letter that was delivered this morning to the individuals on the island and to the organizers specifically requests that they seize construction activities on the island, it also reserves the right of the Port Authority to request in the future that they disassemble or remove the structures that are currently standing on the island and remove the materials from the island as well,” added Gurney.