This month, Peace Valley farmers Ken and Arlene Boon have been touring southern BC with a message: Site C is not a done deal.
While some of their land has been expropriated to accommodate the re-routing of Highway 29, they have not been forced out of their historic farmhouse, and they are not packing their bags.
The list of reasons that the Site C dam project on the Peace River never should have been started is long. And so is the list of reasons why now, more than two years into construction, it still makes sense to scrap the project and restore the Peace River Valley.
The farmland in the valley is uniquely productive, including the land Arlene Boon’s family has farmed for generations. The cost of the project is ever-rising, having gone from $9 billion to $10.7 billion in just the past year. The electricity is expected to be used to power the LNG industry, an industry that – at best – shouldn’t need BC Hydro to subsidize it, and – at worst – threatens to tip us over the climate change edge.
And there’s another huge reason bigger than any megadam: treaty rights. West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations, both Treaty 8 signatories, will finally have a chance to make arguments in court this summer. These BC Supreme Court hearings on their injunction application will last 10 days and are scheduled to take place sometime between July 23 and September 10.
Another Treaty 8 Nation, Blueberry River First Nation, has a major case heading for the courts in Vancouver on April 9. This case will look at the cumulative impacts of industrial development in their territory, which includes major dams on the Peace like Site C.
Downstream of the Site C dam site, the Mikisew Cree First Nation is fighting to protect the Peace-Athabasca Delta (the PAD) from industrial encroachments such as tarsands development and major dams on the Peace River including Site C.
We continue to stand with Treaty 8 First Nations against the Site C dam, which threatens their treaty rights and their ways of life.
On the Peace-Athabasca Delta file in particular, the world is watching. Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest national park and a globally significant World Heritage Site. It protects the Peace-Athabasca Delta, home to fish, moose, bison, endangered migratory birds and a landscape the Mikisew Cree have depended on for millennia. But Trudeau’s inaction on assessing the potential impacts of Site C could put this globally significant region on the List of World Heritage in Danger. After Sierra Club BC raised the issue with UNESCO, the international body strongly criticized Canada for failing to protect Wood Buffalo National Park.
Please call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt Site C construction immediately and keep his promise to honour Indigenous rights!
Feature image: Wood Buffalo National Park, courtesy of MCFN GIR.
The Boon’s tour update!
We participated in a 7-stop tour organized with Ken and Arlene Boon, organizing events on Salt Spring Island and helping out in Sooke. Over $13,000 was raised across the tour to support West Moberly & Prophet River First Nations legal challenges, as well as the Peace Valley Landowner Association.
Thank you to everyone that came out to participate in conversations on where we go from here, and for their generous contributions to keep this fight alive!