The ECOreport reposts news from British Columbia’s ongoing struggle for democracy, Vancouver paddle & carnival protesting Site C Dam
Press Release from the Wilderness Committee
Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory – Today, hundreds of people attended the Vancouver, Coast Salish solidarity paddle and carnival to stop the Site C Dam, which was co-hosted by FightC, Force of Nature, Climate Convergence, and Wilderness Committee.
Vancouver Paddle & Carnival Protesting Site C Dam
The 12th annual Paddle for the Peace occurred at the same time up North and was organized by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations and the PVEA. The annual event celebrates the natural integrity of the Peace River Valley.
The Vancouver/Coast Salish event began with a short paddle from Granville Island to Vanier Park where the paddlers were welcomed onto the land by Gordon August, a hereditary chief from the Sechelt (shíshálh) nation.
“We stand in solidarity with the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations as well as the farmers up in the Peace. We want to stop the building of the dam to keep the sacred burial lands and the Peace’s fertile agricultural land,” commented August.
Carnival performances included musicians, poets, a stilt-walker, a puppeteer, balloon sculptures, hula-hoopers, and poi-spinners. A talented poet and activist from Prophet River First Nation, Helen Knott, was the featured speaker.
Knott emphasized, “It is important to stand in solidarity from northern BC to southern BC as Site C will impact all British Columbians.”
Site C Dam In Direct Conflict With Rights Of Treaty 8 Nations
The BC NDP and Greens have previously pledged staunch support to the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In contrast, the construction of the Site C Dam is in direct conflict with the rights of the Treaty 8 nations whose land the dam is being built on. Treaty 8 recently went to the Supreme Court of Canada to protect their treaty rights but were denied a hearing. This leaves them little legal power to protect their land outside of pursuing a civil suit once the damage is done.
Time is running out for some. While John Horgan has promised to send Site C to the BC Utilities Commission, there are sacred indigenous gravesites and cultural areas scheduled to be destroyed in the upcoming months. Local residents, third generation farmers Ken and Arlene Boon have been served an eviction notice for
It is important to note that $8.8 billion is the current cost estimate for the hydroelectric dam, which will take British Columbians 70 years to pay off. Ratepayers won’t need any power generated from the dam for another 10 years, a decade that could be better spent investing in clean energy sources such as geothermal, solar, and wind.
Top Photo Credit: : “Dams Are For Beavers” – Paddle for the Peace Vancouver Carnival event photos by Olivia Fellows