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WEST MOBERLY FIRST NATIONS
Court Motion Brought to Access Site C Safety Risks Kept from Public
First Nation “actively considering” new court injunction if work on “unsafe, unnecessary, and unlawful” Site C dam continues
January 25, 2021. Moberly Lake, B.C: In an open letter to the Premier and his cabinet, Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nations has called for an immediate suspension of work on the “unsafe, unnecessary, and unlawful” Site C dam until there is a cabinet decision on cancellation.
News of serious problems with the dam’s foundations surfaced publicly in July of last year, but documents obtained by reporters reveal that BC Hydro knew of the problems as early as September 2019. Today, nearly one and a half years later, construction continues at a cost of $100 million per month with no safe solution to the problems in sight.
Details of the escalating costs and safety concerns remain shrouded in secrecy, with BC Hydro withholding its two latest progress reports from regulators and the Premier refusing to release the report prepared by his special advisor, Peter Milburn. Chief Willson’s open letter reveals that his First Nation will bring a court motion to obtain the information being kept from the public. This includes Peter Milburn’s report, two new expert reports commissioned by BC Hydro, and all draft reports, terms of reference, emails and geotechnical information.
The open letter warns that West Moberly is “actively considering” a return to court for a new injunction if the Premier allows construction to continue. In October of 2018, the Court denied a previous injunction but stated that a new injunction could be granted if there was an “unforeseen and compelling change in circumstances” before trial.
In the letter, Chief Willson urges the Premier to make good on promises to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to uphold the rights guaranteed by Treaty 8:
“You can reject the madness of ploughing ahead with this unnecessary, unsafe, and unlawful project. You can choose instead to immediately suspend the project. You can work with West Moberly and other Indigenous treaty partners to provide truly clean energy alternatives that meet the needs of all British Columbians. You can show Canada and the world that the only way to escape our colonial history of neglect and betrayal is to act boldly and honourably in the decisions that lie before us today.”
Read the open letter here: