Site C Threatens Indigenous Rights: Amnesty International Report

_FirstNations

Amnesty International says indigenous human rights are being threatened by the Site C hydroelectric dam. (Photo: CP)

(CP) By Dirk Meissner, Posted: 08/09/2016

VICTORIA — An Amnesty International report calling for work to stop on British Columbia’s $8.8 billion Site C hydroelectric dam will not affect construction on the project, says the Crown corporation building the project.

The independent human rights advocate released a report Tuesday calling on the federal and provincial governments to suspend or rescind all construction approvals and permits related to the project in northeast B.C., saying the megaproject on the Peace River threatens the human rights of indigenous peoples.

The report, The Point of No Return, also said the project should only proceed on the basis of free, prior and informed consent of all affected indigenous peoples.

At least two area First Nations are challenging the project in court.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett and Jessica McDonald, BC Hydro’s president and chief executive officer, said the government and Crown corporation have consulted widely and meaningfully with area indigenous peoples since 2007 and those talks continue as the project proceeds.

“The Site C project has been through an extensive review and approval process,” said McDonald. “It’s an approved project. It has its permits and it’s our responsibility to continue construction and bring this project into operation on time and on budget.”

The Amnesty International report said archeological evidence shows indigenous peoples have lived in the Peace River area for more than 10,000 years and many rely on the valley to hunt, fish, trap, conduct ceremonies and harvest plant medicines.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced approval of the project in December 2014. Construction at the dam site started last summer and the federal government recently approved permits to allow work to begin on diverting water flows.

“It’s an approved project. It has its permits and it’s our responsibility to continue construction and bring this project into operation on time and on budget.”

“Canadian and international law require a high and rigorous standard of protection to ensure that indigenous peoples, who have already endured decades of marginalization, discrimination, dispossession, and impoverishment, are not further harmed by development on their lands and territories,” said the report by Amnesty.

McDonald said Hydro has reached agreements with many of the First Nations to mitigate potential impacts of the project.

“To speak in general terms, we have been successful in reaching agreements that speak to respecting the interests and concerns First Nations communities may have regarding the project,” she said. “I do feel that the report misses the mark.”

The dam would be the third on the Peace River, flooding an 83-kilometre stretch of valley near Fort St. John.

Site C approval violated obligations to indigenous peoples: report

The Amnesty report said Site C’s approval process violated Canada’s human rights obligations toward indigenous people on several grounds, including putting B.C.’s plans for the area ahead of indigenous peoples’ preferred use of the land.

“No amount of consultation is adequate if, at the end of the day, the concerns of indigenous peoples are not seriously considered and their human rights remain unacknowledged or unprotected,” said the report.

“This group and many of the groups want to focus on the negatives, without ever acknowledging all the positive things.”

Bennett wasn’t available for an interview, but he told radio station CHNL that the report ignores benefits associated with the project and an extensive consultation process.

“This group and many of the groups want to focus on the negatives, without ever acknowledging all the positive things,” he said.

Bennett said the report does not properly acknowledge the jobs the project is creating, especially for indigenous people, and the long-term power supply the dam will deliver.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/08/09/amnesty-international-calls-for-halt-to-site-c-dam-threatens-indigenous-rights_n_11398746.html

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Site C Hunger-Striker Condemns Christy Clark Hours Before Hospitalization

kristin-henry

Site C protester Kristin Henry has been camped outside BC Hydro’s office in downtown Vancouver since March 13, 2016, with little more than tea to keep her going. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

National Observer, April 1st 2016

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark “will have blood on her hands” if she continues to move forward with the Site C Dam, said protester Kristin Henry on the 19th day of her hunger strike against the controversial hydroelectric project.

She uttered the words only hours before her hospitalization late Thursday evening, when the 24-year-old’s heart rate dropped to “concerning levels,” according to her protest’s Facebook page. Henry has survived only on water, tea, and vegetable broth since March 13. She admitted to feeling exhausted, dizzy, and light-headed, speaking with National Observer earlier that day.

Construction of the $8.8-billion “clean energy” dam started last summer on the Peace River of northeastern B.C., a river that flows right through the heart of Treaty 8 Territory belonging to the Doig River, Halfway River, Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations. Upon completion, it will produce enough power to light up roughly 450,000 B.C. homes per year, but its reservoir is expected to destroy more than 100 kilometres of river valley bottoms along the Peace River and its tributaries.

These First Nations say it would flood their burial grounds and other culturally important sites, and disrupt vital hunting and fishing activities.

“I don’t plan on living in a world that has the Site C Dam in it,” Henry said from her encampment outside BC Hydro’s office in downtown Vancouver. “I’m hopeful the government will come and engage with me because I think it would show a lot about the society we’re living in if they don’t.”

Beyond a short conversation with the CEO on Day 3 of her hunger strike, Henry said BC Hydro has ignored the presence of the campers on their doorstep. The company did not respond to National Observer’s request for comment in time for publication of this story, but in a Wednesday news release, said:

“Site C will provide clean, reliable and cost-effective electricity in B.C. for more than 100 years.”

“It’s a horrible project and Christy Clark said it herself — she’s trying to get it ‘past the point of no return,’” Henry explained. “I think it’s pretty disgusting that they’re doing irreversible damage to Treaty 8 territory while the legality is still being challenged.”

B.C. Premier Christy Clark addresses clean energy in the province at the 2016 Globe Series in Vancouver on March 2. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark addresses clean energy in the province at the 2016 Globe Series in Vancouver on March 2. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Beseeching the prime minister

The B.C. and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council (BC Building Trades) has already filed a lawsuit against BC Hydro for terms in the provincial Crown corporation’s request for proposals that prevent union members from striking during the construction of the Site C dam or recruiting other non-union members into unions.

The Blueberry River First Nations has also launched a court case against the province, alleging its Treaty 8 rights have been violated by decades of development on the territory. The lawsuit could impact construction of the dam as well as the expansion of mineral, oil and gas extraction in the province’s north.

A breach of Indigenous rights should be enough to put the project to rest, said Henry, whose group of out protesters have now appealed to the federal government for help.

“This is a matter of human rights and it is time the Government of Canada afforded Treaty 8 First Nations the same human rights afforded to the rest of its citizens,” reads an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau that has been sent to his office more than 1,000 times by protesters across the country. “Mr. Trudeau, will you keep your promise?”

The letters are currently being circulating outside the BC Hydro office in downtown Vancouver, where Henry said most residents who approach their occupation have never even heard of the Site C Dam to begin with. All it takes is a few moments of explanation, she added, before someone hastily signs a copy in opposition.

“We don’t need the energy but we need everything that the project’s going to destroy — the valley, the farmland, the water,” she insisted.

An artist rendering of the Site C Dam near Fort St. John, B.C. Graphic courtesy of B.C. Hydro.

An artist rendering of the Site C Dam near Fort St. John, B.C. Graphic courtesy of B.C. Hydro.

A symbolic hunger strike

The Site C Dam received federal and provincial environmental approval in October 2014, but the Joint Review Panel evaluating the project found that it would have significant adverse effects on rare plants, fish and fish habitat, put the fishing activities of local First Nations at risk, and threaten several species of birds, butterflies, and bats, and the western toad.

At least 63 endangered, red-listed, blue-listed, at risk, threatened, and of special concern animal species call the Site C area in the Peace River Valley home,according to the project’s protesters, and Henry said her hunger strike is against something far bigger than a single hydroelectric project.

“I’m sick of putting my health on the line to fight our government to do what’s right for us, not industry,” she explained, clutching her water bottle tightly. “The world can go in two directions — they can work with us, respect us, work with nature and we can have a bright future, or they can oppress us and destroy the environment.

“I think Site C is kind of this point — they can make that decision and go one way or another.”

Green Party leader Elizabeth May applauded Henry’s bravery but encouraged her to heed the advice of her doctors on her health. The federal Green Party leader was scheduled to meet her at the camp on Friday, an appointment she kept despite the 24-year-old’s hospitalization.

She said Kristen is needed alive and well in the fight against the “disastrous” Site C project.

Praise from Green Party

“It’s not too late to stop it,” said May, speaking with protesters outside the BC Hydro building. “That’s why I’m grateful to Kristen and all of you here for making the point that it’s not too late.”

The Green Party leader said the riparian zones can still be repaired and the clearcut trees can still grow back. Provincial and federal permits have already been issued for the dam, but more federal permits are required under the new Liberal government to make it a fully operational project.

May joined protesters in Vancouver in calling on the prime minister not to issue a single one of them, lest he break one of his most vital election promises:

“Activities that are treaty-protected will be violated,” she explained. “If the Liberals buy into that and allow it to continue, they will have violated their most fundamental commitment from the election campaign, the Throne Speech and the mandate letters from each of the ministers.”

In 2001, May also went on a hunger strike to successfully pressure the federal government to clean up toxic waste in the Cape Breton Sydney Tar Ponds. She said the commitment Henry has made by putting her health on the line represents the Site C views of thousands of Canadians, and prayed for her speedy recovery.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May greets Peace River Valley farmer Sage Birley at the protesters' camp outside BC Hydro on Fri. April 1, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May greets Peace River Valley farmer Sage Birley at the protesters’ camp outside BC Hydro on Fri. April 1, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/04/01/news/site-c-hunger-striker-condemns-christy-clark-hours-hospitalization


Red Power Media contains copyrighted material. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair dealing” in an effort to advance a better understanding of Indigenous – political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to our followers for educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair dealing” you must request permission from the copyright owner.


 

Protesters At Rocky Mountain Fort End ’62 Day’ Blockade Of Site C Dam Project

Opponents of Site C dismantle the remote protest camp that stalled BC Hydro dam construction work for two months. (Christy Jordan-Fenton)

Opponents of Site C dismantle the remote protest camp that stalled BC Hydro dam construction work for two months. (Christy Jordan-Fenton)

By Red Power Media, Staff

Landowners and First Nations protesters end 62 day blockade 

Protesters at the Rocky Mountain Fort camp ended their two-month occupation blocking Site C dam construction, after a judge ruled in favor of BC Hydro’s application for an injunction to remove them from the area.

Landowners and First Nations protesters had until midnight Monday, to vacate and make way for an $8.8 billion dam on the Peace River.

The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the protest camp had prevented site-clearing operations by BC Hydro contractors since December 31, costing millions of dollars in project delays.

“BC Hydro has the legal authority to do what it is doing and the defendants have no legal rights to obstruct it,” an attorney for the province-owned utility told the court on Monday.

Today, Site C opponents told CBC News they are obeying the Court order  requiring them to leave the area.

“At this time, none of us are going to be arrested, because we are law abiding citizens,” said local farmer Arlene Boon, who has been camping in the snow at the protest site for 32 days.

Yvonne Tupper, a land occupier with the Treaty 8 Tribal Association, said the protest’s end was bittersweet. “We bought that small chunk of land another 62 days of life,” she said. “When you understand your relationship to the land, it tells you where your place is.”

Today, Boon said people in camp are crying and emotional, as they pack up and dismantle cabins, lean-tos, and tents and load supplies on to snowmobiles and boats.

Protesters said the RCMP gave camp occupants a few days grace to pack up and clear out.

This rendering shows the planned Site C Dam in the Peace River valley in Northeast British Columbia.

This rendering shows the planned Site C Dam in the Peace River valley in Northeast British Columbia.

Tupper says what can’t be moved straight away are some of the cabins, which will be airlifted out of the area at BC Hydro’s expense.

The Site C dam in Northeast British Columbia received both provincial and federal approval.

The Supreme Court ruling came as Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gets ready for this week’s meeting with provincial premiers in Vancouver.

On Thursday, Trudeau will gather with provincial and territorial premiers for a first ministers meeting — the second one he will attend since his Liberal government came to power last fall — to begin figuring out how Canada will live up to the agreement it signed at the United Nations climate conference in Paris last year.

Trudeau is expected to unveil a green energy initiative.

Judge Grants BC Hydro Injunction To Remove Site C Protesters

image (1)

An artists rendering depicts the proposed Site C dam and hydroelectric generating station on B.C.’s Peace River. (BCHydro.com)

The Canadian Press, Feb 29, 2016

VANCOUVER – A judge has granted BC Hydro an injunction to remove people protesting the Site C dam project at a tent camp near Fort St. John.

The ruling means demonstrators have no right to obstruct the hydroelectric project, which has regulatory approval from both the federal and provincial governments.

The utility argued last week that the actions of a group of Peace Valley farmers and First Nations were illegal and could cost millions of dollars.

BC Hydro lawyers told court the protesters set up camp in late December and have prevented workers from clearing the area for construction, even building camp fires near tree-felling and excavation operations.

Yvonne Tupper of the Saulteau First Nations said outside court that BC Hydro is violating Treaty 8 Tribal Association’s rights and that the project should be put on hold while legal challenges make their way through the courts.

The $8.8-billion dam will flood agricultural land and First Nations archeological sites, as well as hunting and fishing areas.

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/judge-grants-bc-hydro-injunction-to-remove-site-c-protesters-1.2797737

BC Hydro Seeks Injunction Against Site C Dam Protesters

Site-C-construction-rendering1

By Shelby Thom | CKNW

BC Hydro is seeking an injunction against demonstrators at the Site C dam.

The defendants include Ken Boon, the President of the Peace Valley Landowner Association, and Verena Hofmann with the Treaty 8 Tribal Council.

Court documents allege the protesters have built a camp, including a pair of cabins that were helicoptered in, are blocking site preparation work near the south bank of the Peace River.

The suit claims protesters are using the camp “as a base from which [they] have interfered with, and prevented BC Hydro employees from conducting work,” and have been both lighting campfires and standing in the paths of equipment and machinery.

BC Hydro claims the protesters are causing safety issues and are intentionally trying to cost BC Hydro and its partners by forcing them to miss a March 31st contract deadline to clear the land.

“As a result of such intentional interference, BC Hydro has suffered and will suffer, loss, damage, and expense.”

The suit also says the blockade may force the company to delay construction and modify plans for the nearly $9 billion power project.

BC Hydro is seeking to have the camp removed and the protesters blocked from the site.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

READ MORE: Union of BC Indian Chiefs demands new federal government stop Site C dam

War of words

BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway says the company would prefer for the protesters to move on their own.

“We’re hopeful that this can be resolved. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of both the Site C workers and the protesters, so we need to move forward with the clearing.”

And as for how much the demonstration is setting BC Hydro back?

“Those costs as far as I am aware haven’t been determined, we are looking into that, however I should be clear that this particular area where we need to get in to do some clearing, all other construction work on the site is continuing.”

But protester Ken Boon says the company is using heavy handed tactics on a “very peaceful, legal protest.”

He says the group offered to meet with Hydro as recently as Monday, and that “the reply to that evidently was to slap us with this civil claim.”

As to whether protesters will risk arrest, Boon says protesters are seeking legal help before they decide their next move, but will keep the camp standing for the time being.

http://www.cknw.com/2016/01/20/bc-hydro-seeks-injunction-against-site-c-dam-protesters/

Grand Chief Calls On BC Hydro To “Back Off” Site C Protest Encampment

Wearing sacred red ochre paint on his face, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs' leader Grand Chief Stewart Phillip alongside Alberta's Melina Laboucan Massimo of the Lubicon Lake Cree, and Tsleil-Waututh elder Amy George, in Burnaby Mountain's conservation forest on Thursday. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

Wearing sacred red ochre paint on his face, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ leader Grand Chief Stewart Phillip alongside Alberta’s Melina Laboucan Massimo of the Lubicon Lake Cree, and Tsleil-Waututh elder Amy George, in Burnaby Mountain’s conservation forest on Thursday. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

By Black Powder | Red Power Media, Staff

UBCIC calls on BC Hydro to back off a First Nations encampment near Site C dam construction.  

A small group of First Nations campers have dug in on the south bank of the Peace River at Rocky Mountain Fort, —an 18th-century fur trade post. They are defending their traditional territory in the face of the proposed $9 billion Site C dam that would flood107-kilometres of the scenic Peace River and its tributaries, including indigenous hunting and fishing grounds.

Local landowners have also joined in the fight.

Protesters on the 269 Road blocked traffic from entering the Site C dam work site for about an hour before police arrived Wednesday.

Protesters on the 269 Road blocked traffic from entering the Site C dam work site for about an hour before police arrived Wednesday.

On Wednesday, at a protest in support of the encampment, RCMP made three arrests for blocking trucks, at the north bank entrance of the site C project —including Arthur Hadland, a former regional district director. He was arrested for mischief after refusing to move to the side of the road, according to police.

Aboriginal treaty rights, land title, the loss of farmland and other environmental concerns sparked seven court challenges involving the Site C dam.

January 8th, on the 

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC, stated, “We are absolutely outraged that BC Hydro is working at the proposed dam site when critical court proceedings are in motion and a decision on Site C proceeding has yet to be determined. Yesterday, BC Hydro moved equipment in toward the camp, despite publicly saying they are speaking with Site C dam protestors and local authorities to try to peacefully end the standoff.”

The UBCIC said in regard to the arrests, they are deeply concerned that BC Hydro’s actions are increasing tensions on the ground.

Through formal resolutions, the UBCIC fully supports the efforts of Treaty 8 First Nations to ensure that their Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are honoured and preserved.

Grand Chief Phillip concluded “We continue to urge the provincial and federal governments to immediately cease proceeding with the proposed Site C dam project until such time as the Site C court proceedings are complete and the Site C Dam proposal is properly reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission. Further provocations on the part of BC Hydro will only serve to escalate tensions in an already volatile situation.”

rocky-mountain-fort

In late December, B.C. Hydro posted an eviction notice on a bunkhouse at the Rocky Mountain Fort camp site. Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land have since manned the camp around the clock, turning back logging equipment attempting to establish a foothold on the upstream bank of the Moberly.

The protesters say they will not permit BC Hydro to proceed with plans to clear-cut forests around the site and that they aren’t afraid of facing arrest.

RELATED

In an email, Site C spokesperson Dave Conway said that while Hydro has equipment in the area, “we are not moving equipment within the immediate proximity of individuals or the encampment itself.”

“Our immediate concern is to ensure the safety of both Site C workers and the protesters.”

https://twitter.com/CalebBehn/status/685230744046714880

Could Site C be the next Burnaby Mountain?

Earlier this week, Grand Chief Phillip who was arrested on Burnaby Mountain during Kinder Morgan protests in 2014, said he was considering a trip north to support the Rocky Mountain Fort.

(Video: Grand Chief arrested crossing police line in protest of Kinder Morgan)

Forget Oregon, High-Stakes Standoff Taking Place Right Here In B.C.

Fort St. John RCMP arrest Arthur Hadland for mischief during a Site C protest Wednesday as fellow activist Penny Boden looks on. Photo by Bronwyn Scott/Alaska Highway News. Photograph by: See Notes / Direction , Vancouver Sun

Fort St. John RCMP arrest Arthur Hadland for mischief during a Site C protest Wednesday as fellow activist Penny Boden looks on. Photo by Bronwyn Scott/Alaska Highway News.
Photograph by: See Notes / Direction , Vancouver Sun

By Daphne Bramham | VANCOUVER SUN, Jan 6, 2016

Protesters here have their own battles in play

With its echoes of Hollywood movies, it’s not surprising that an armed uprising by white ranchers in the American West wanting free range over public land has gained international attention.

But while the ranchers and self-proclaimed militia are occupying an abandoned federal building in southeast Oregon, there’s a similar — albeit more peaceful — occupation taking place in northeastern British Columbia.

The unarmed British Columbians are refusing to leave the site where BC Hydro plans to clear-cut parts of the Peace River Valley and flood 57,000 acres of farmland in order to construct an $8.3-billion hydroelectric dam.

This is a massive infrastructure project touted by Premier Christy Clark for the nearly 2,000 construction jobs it will create and as a much-needed, clean energy alternative. In Oregon, it’s a dispute over rangeland versus parkland.

In July, RCMP shot and killed a protester outside an information meeting about the dam, known as Site C.

On Wednesday, RCMP arrested three people, including former Peace River Valley District director Arthur Hadland, according to local media. The Alaska Highway News stated he was among a group of protesters blockading two entrances to the dam’s construction site.

Hadland has long been a vocal opponent. But it is Helen Knott who is described on blog and Facebook posts as the “emerging leader and warrior.” Far from the camouflage-clad images of Bundy clansmen in Oregon, Knott’s Facebook photo shows a smiling, bespectacled young woman with a female elder.

(Knott is at the camp and did not respond to emailed questions before deadline. However, based on the photos and comments on Knott’s page, this protest appears to be an iteration of the Idle No More Movement — a peaceful protest movement largely driven by young First Nations people.)

Aboriginal treaty rights, land title, the loss of farmland and other environmental concerns sparked seven court challenges involving the dam.

Three remain to be heard or decided by the B.C. Court of Appeal. Those appeals were made by the Peace Valley Landowner Association and the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations.

(Two other legal challenges — both by First Nations — were either discontinued or the parties have withdrawn.)

Regardless, the B.C. government issued construction permits last July after the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld the provincial environment minister’s discretionary right to approve construction without considering the recommendations of an independent environmental review.

That review panel’s 471-page report said the dam would be beneficial, providing enough electricity to power 450,000 homes a year.

But the review also noted that there would be significant negative impacts on the environment, wildlife, aboriginal people, farmers and other users of the Peace River Valley due to flooding of the valley to create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir.

The approvals also came within days of James McIntyre being shot dead by RCMP outside BC Hydro’s public consultation meeting in Dawson Creek.

Anonymous — the international network of hacktivists — claimed the Guy Fawkes-masked, knife-wielding McIntyre as one of its members and vowed to use vengeance if necessary to seek justice. Local environmental and farming groups opposed to the dam said at the time that they didn’t know McIntyre and that they oppose violence of any kind.

The province’s Independent Investigations Office has yet to make its report.

Site preparation work began in the fall of 2015 and protesters set up a camp at the mouth of the Moberly River in December. It includes a small cabin and hunting tent as protection against the -20 C temperatures for a rotating group of people including Knott.

On Dec. 31, BC Hydro gave protesters 24 hours to remove their encampment. But nothing happened until this week.

In the birthplace of Greenpeace, after decades of wars in the woods in British Columbia over timber cutting and after a year of protests involving pipelines that included arrests on Burnaby Mountain, what is happening in the Peace River Valley is all too familiar: First Nations people, local landowners and environmentalists pitted against private and public corporations in disputes over the use/misuse of public lands.

There ought to be a better way than this.

And there is. It’s supposed to be due process and the rule of law.

Yet when governments don’t wait for those processes to fully play out or when they rewrite the rules to their own advantage against the perceived public interest, it’s hard to condemn peaceful protests of frustrated citizens as long as they remain peaceful.

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/daphne+bramham+forget+oregon+high+stakes+standoff+taking+place+right+here/11634939/story.html?__lsa=1f04-7a92


Red Power Media contains copyrighted material. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair dealing” in an effort to advance a better understanding of Indigenous – political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to our followers for educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair dealing” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

BC Hydro Orders Protesters Off Land Near Site C Dam

A sign protesting the Site C proposal is seen near Hudson's Hope B.C. in this July 2014 file photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

A sign protesting the Site C proposal is seen near Hudson’s Hope B.C. in this July 2014 file photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

The Canadian Press, Published, Jan 4, 2016 

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Members of a small but defiant group are pledging to keep protesting the Site C hydroelectric project in northeastern British Columbia, despite being ordered off the land.

They set up a camp on Dec. 31, when BC Hydro and Power Authority issued an eviction notice while pressing ahead with land clearing for the controversial $9-billion dam.

The Crown corporation gave protesters 24 hours to leave the area known as Rocky Mountain Fort, on the south bank of the Peace River, just a few kilometres south of Fort St. John.

It warned that BC Hydro personnel will remove all contents of the camp and deliver it to RCMP but such action had not been taken by Monday afternoon.

Verena Hofmann, a Peace River Valley resident who was at the encampment over the weekend, said contractors appear ready to begin logging a three-kilometre region that is First Nations territory.

“We’ve just heard that equipment has started up. It looks like they are intending to keep on cutting,” she said on the phone from Fort St. John. “Treaty 8 First Nation people are holding their ground and are not moving from the site, so things are intensifying and changing quickly.”

Hofmann said demonstrators believe BC Hydro has no right to force them off the land in the midst of ongoing legal challenges involving Site C.

Several court cases raise major concerns about the potential impact of flooding from the creation of a new lake on the Peace River and the surrounding valley during construction of the dam.

She said upward of about five people at a time are occupying the west side of the mouth of the Moberly River in rotating shifts. First Nations people and other landowners are staying in a small cabin that was flown to the bank, as well as a hunting tent, she said.

It takes about 30 minutes to walk or less by snow machine to reach an area where contractors are set up, she said.

“There is no physical structure blockading BC Hydro’s construction, it’s individual people approaching them and reasonably and respectfully pleading with them to cease construction.”

Local people are trying to protect the land – significant because it contains swaths of old-growth boreal forest – until court proceedings run their full course, Hofmann said.

She said the group has asked that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassess the environmental approval granted for the project by the former Conservative government, in conjunction with the B.C. government.

A spokesman for Site C project said the utility will continue to monitor the situation and is evaluating “all options.”

“BC Hydro respects the right of all individuals to peacefully protest and express their opinions about Site C in a safe and lawful manner,” Craig Fitzsimmons, the manager of communications and issues management, said in an email.

“We are hopeful this can be resolved. We are in discussions with the protesters and local authorities to allow us to resume construction activities.”

The Rocky Mountain Fort was established in 1794 by the North West Company as a fur trading post and is the site of the earliest settler post in mainland B.C.

The dam will be the third on the Peace River, creating an 83-kilometre-long reservoir that’s slated to power up to 450,000 homes a year.

BC Hydro announced in mid-December that a consortium of three companies will be paid about $1.75 billion to build the largest components of the Site C development over the next eight years.

Source: http://ctv.news/uHU2ryZ

Site C Job Fairs Postponed After Man Shot Outside Dawson Creek Meeting

Dawson Creek RCMP Shooting

Dawson Creek RCMP Shooting

CBC News

Job fairs postponed in Tumbler Ridge, Fort St. John and Chetwynd to ‘evaluate policies’

BC Hydro has postponed three Site C job fairs after a man was fatally shot by police outside a Dawson Creek, B.C., public meeting for the controversial hydroelectric project.

“BC Hydro is currently evaluating its policies and procedures for public meetings,” the Crown corporation said in a statement. “The postponement of the job fairs will give us time to complete this task.”

“Our intent is to ensure the safety of our staff and members of the public.”

The postponed job fairs had been scheduled for Tumbler Ridge, Fort St. John and Chetwynd on July 28, 29 and 30, respectively.

Earlier this week, the BC Coroners Service identified James Daniel McIntyre, 48, as the man killed by RCMP.

Accounts affiliated with the online activist group Anonymous claimed McIntyre was a “fallen comrade,” and some vowed to avenge his death.

A Site C protest planned for Thursday in front of BC Hydro headquarters in downtown Vancouver has also been cancelled, due to concerns about violence.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/site-c-job-fairs-postponed-after-man-shot-outside-dawson-creek-meeting-1.3162600

UPDATE: Man Shot By RCMP Not Person Who Made Site C Disturbance (VIDEO)

gn150717dawson_tnb_1

By Red Power Media, Staff

Man fatally shot by Dawson Creek RCMP not the person who made disturbance at Site C event

The man who made a disturbance at a Site C open house in Dawson Creek last night was not the person fatally shot by RCMP outside the building later that evening, say the Independent Investigations Office.

Video: Site C protester and shooting victim were not the same man

“The individual who was causing the disturbance left the event and did not come into contact with police,” said IIO spokesperson Kellie Kilpatrick at a press conference in Dawson Creek this evening.

“We know now that when police arrived in response to that complaint, they came into contact with a second adult male unrelated to the public information session.”

“The male came into contact with officers in an aggressive manner, and despite officers demands and commands, he was shot.”

The shooting happened outside the Fixx Urban Grill at the Stonebridge Hotel, while a public information session on the soon-to-be constructed Site C dam was being held by BC Hydro.

Previously in the meeting, a protestor came in and interrupted proceedings.

According to an attendee, a man flipped tables and tore display boards illustrating the dam from their stands before being escorted out of the room.

Curtis Pratt was inside and said he did not hear shots, but later saw the body. He said the victim was wearing a mask, and he wasn’t sure whether it was the man from inside.

Originally, the IIO believed that the masked individual RCMP shot and killed outside the building was “connected to the complaint.”

However, they say new information proved that not to be the case, and the man who caused the disturbance is fine.

“There are a lot of moving parts to this investigation,” said Kilpatrick, who said she was only told the original connection between the two incidents was incorrect when she arrived in Dawson Creek this afternoon.

There is no word on the identity of the victim at this time.

Kilpatrick did not have additional information about the protestor, but said “he never did come into contact with police.”

Her office is continuing to investigate the shooting. The officers involved have been sequestered, and it is not clear whether they will be charged, suspended or placed on administrative leave. The IIO also said investigators were not sure if the officers had tasers or other lesser means of force, which will be a key part of the investigation.

“That’s something our investigators have been following up on today. I don’t have the answer to that,” Kilpatrick said.

“What an officer carries on his toolbelt varies depending on officer location, detachment and the type of work they are doing.”

What is clear is that “police came in response to the disturbance and found themselves in contact with this other individual,” Kilpatrick said.

The IIO is asking anyone with information about what happened in the area to come forward, saying cell phone videos are of particular interest.

“In this day of social media, we aware that there is a lot of information circulating out there,” Kilpatrick said. “We’re very interested in speaking with anyone who has information about what they saw or what they heard here last evening,” she added.

WATCH:  Witness captures Dawson Creek RCMP shooting on cellphone. Warning: Contains disturbing content and graphic language.