The Sekw’el’was (Cayoose Creek Indian Band) have been opposing the construction by the District of Lillooet of a water intake pipe in Cayoosh Creek (Seton River) at the Cayoosh Creek Campground in British Columbia. Sekw’el’was Chief Michelle Edwards says they are trying to protect the salmon habitat and water resource for everyone.
The Lillooet News reports, “A security detail (at the construction site) was beefed up March 11 and members of the security team donned riot gear, including riot helmets. A steel fence has also been erected around the perimeter of the construction site to ensure work continues undisturbed. (Lillooet) Mayor Dennis Bontron told the News the decision to don the riot gear was made by Griffin Security and Investigations, which was hired by the District last month to protect the workers and ensure the intake construction project is completed.”
Council of Canadians Board member Garry John drummed at the site with other members of the St’át’imc Nation on World Water Day yesterday. He says, “In our entourage were men, women and children who have been watching this destruction and disregard for the need for proper consultation and discussion.” To watch a 7-minute video of their presence yesterday, please click here.
The Sekw’el’was have hired a surveyor to confirm the campground is on their territory as they have asserted for decades. The District claims that they have title to the campground. The mayor has even stated that the municipality does not have a regulatory obligation to consult with the band about this project.
The Sekw’el’was have also applied to the provincial Environmental Appeal Board to stop the project. The Lillooet News has reported, “The Appeal Board ruled that the intake project is not likely to damage salmon spawning habitat in the river; however, the EAB also expressed concern about the lack of consultation and notification to Sekw’el’was prior to the District beginning construction on the project in January.”
There is a March 31 deadline to complete the construction.
Chief Garry John stands with the Sekw’el’was