BC Hydro issues Rocky Mountain Fort Campers at Site C, a 24 Hour Eviction notice – on New Years Eve.

Rocky Mountain Fort site eviction notice

 

There’s a lot about this incredible province I know about, and still so much to learn. And in the Peace River region much of that will be lost forever if the project continues. Places like Rocky Mountain Fort, the oldest fur trade post in British Columbia that dates back to 1793 are going to be flooded.

Since mid December, campers have been set up at the site of the historic trading post and they don’t intend to leave. It is located on Crown land aka public land. A survival trailer was brought into the site and Treaty 8 First Nations have been staying along with other locals fighting to stop the construction of the dam.

The site is not just significant to the trading history of the region, but to local First Nations as well – the entire valley is a wealth of cultural and archaeological treasures,not that the province has been very interested in marking it. There’s very little to tell anyone where or how to get to the site and the province has shown no interest in protecting it – of course. Long story short, this site is scheduled to be logged this week, and on New Years Eve, when the world was celebrating or relaxing, a rather unofficial looking eviction notice was posted – the first photo at the top of this blog post.

A photo of that notice quickly made its way to me and I immediately posted it to Twitter,including BC Hydro’s twitter account in that tweet. How typical for any kind of action like this to be done in a cowardly manner, under cover of a major distraction, with 24 hours notice of intention to remove. Not unlike how government often unloads terrible news late on a Friday afternoon – particularly on long weekends, because three days is all it takes for people to forget and the media to move on.

But I digress.

The note was posted and quickly shared. And there was no eviction New Years Day, but security did show up and stop campers from going onto a bridge moved into the area to facilitate their work camp. They also gave the campers verbal notice, but Treaty 8 campers posted No Trespassing signs of their own.

I spoke with one of the campers who is only there this time for a few days, and she told me she was going to do a blog post on her experience there, and why this matters. When she sent it to me, I felt her words and pain truly as my own. I know what this area is like… was like before all this began. It hurts to look at these before and after photos. It’s just all wrong.  And it hurt me to read many of this courageous,brilliantly talented young woman’s words just the same:

“You remember that story that the elder told us? Down the way where the Pe1014188_10151512297076627_1280210942_nace River meets the Halfway River?” I asked her, referring to the camp we had over three years ago.

The camp was about reclaiming our right as young Indigenous people to be in our territory, in this Peace River Valley, tucked far into the North East corner of British Columbia. We did not want the proposed Site C Hydro Dam then, we do not want it now.

“No I don’t remember,” Emily replied.

We stood on the soft snow on our way back to camp. We had just put a sign up to notify Hydro workers that this was Treaty 8 Territory and they were trespassing.

“He told us about how when he was young he remembers camping somewhere while they were travelling by horse. At night they heard weeping coming from the forest around them and they didn’t know who it was,” I said, as I stopped to watch snow gently fall from the branches of a nearby spruce tree.

“He said that when they went back to that spot again, maybe a year or so later, that forest was gone. It had been cleared for a road. It was the forest crying because it knew what was coming.”

Emily nodded her head, “The forest is alive”.sunrise

“Yeah. Yeah it is.” I echoed her words.

We had just left where BC Hydro started to clear on the West side of the Moberly River. We walked over to the crude bridge that they had built to cross the frozen river with their equipment. I had to see it up close for my own eyes and I had to lay an offering of tobacco for the land, for its suffering and loss.

I know a lot of people don’t understand what all the fuss is about. It’s a dam, we need it, it’s clean energy after all, all you green tree huggers ought to love that, right?  No.

Because it’s not just wrong for all these very right reasons – this land is truly one of the most beautiful, wild and free places left. The Peace river has even been designated a Heritage river under the BC Parks and Conservation own website- which apparently, means absolutely nothing. Looks good on the BC government website, but not good enough to prevent flooding more of the valley.

heritageriver

It’s wrong because there is no need for this dam. It’s wrong because it’s being rammed through despite a very long list of opponents who have asked the province to stand down and send it to the BC Utilities Commission for the review it never had. Even the BC Union of Municipalities – representatives from every city in the province- called for a halt. But Victoria has deaf ears and eyes that are wide shut.

The Liberal government was so intent on pushing this project through,it exempted it from review from the BC Utilities Commission,the agency deemed with reviewing all projects to ensure they are in the best interests of Hydro ratepayers and the province:

bennettSiteCYet while Site C was exempted… the overdue repairs to the WAC Bennett dam still has to go through that oversight process, and rightly so,despite the blatant hypocrisy. 

 

I leave everyone at the bridge,and walk into the lost forest. .The tears are welling up in my eyes, I see, I feel how real this is and I am filled with a great sorrow. It is a sorrow your spirit feels, and a part of me wants to break down and sob into the earth. Let my tears mix with the soil. But a part of me says that doing so is acceptance of what they are doing, and what they are doing must stop.

~snip~

…as I talk, I watch the shock of the Native Lone Rangers face and he moves slowly behind the White man.

I don’t know if that shock is that I am there or that he feels that he is on the wrong sidehonour treatyand wants to hide. I feel sad for him, because I know that work is work and it puts food on the tables of our people. But for how long? Until the job lasts and then what? Our children and great grandchildren will feel the ramifications of these actions. I think of my Asu’s (grandma) words about how the Dreamers spoke about hard times to come and how he feels sorry for us that will be alive. What if that is preventable to some measure? This is not just about us and hydro and being right or wrong… it’s about the future we are stealing for those who come after us.

How deeply this resonated with me, I can’t say. I know all of my long time readers will recognize that feeling, that same sorrow and sentiment in so many things I’ve written.That connection to the land, the need to do things right because sometimes we only get one chance…

As of this blog post, the campers have still not been evicted. More signs have been posted stating no cutting allowed – hope to have more of those shortly. And as I write, I can’t help but think of the similarities between this and Shawnigan Lake, a story I’ll be writing about next week.

I can’t help but wonder whose backyard will be the next target when someone in Victoria wants to leave a legacy. Who will stand up for you, and with you, then?

securityonbridge

48 thoughts on “BC Hydro issues Rocky Mountain Fort Campers at Site C, a 24 Hour Eviction notice – on New Years Eve.

  1. nonconfidencevote

    Bill Bennet’s statement is quite revealing. ” He has his marching orders from the Premier……..The BC Govt exemption from the Utilities commission……..” That would have exposed us to the intervenor process………..A bunch of unelected beaurocrats stopping this project….”

    So. basically . Do as I say. Not as I do.
    The govt will use a “commission” when it supports their policies and ignore them when it doesnt.
    Unbelievably arrogant. So predictable.
    I cant wait to see how Christie spins this with a joke and a smile.
    2016.
    The year the Liberal politicians of BC wish they were never elected……….all while their former BC Liberal party director is cooling her heels back in Ontario waiting for her trial to begin…….good luck raising funds for next years election….

    Hound them people. Hound them.
    Bad press days may make the undecided voters wake up to whats going on for next years rout at the polls.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laila

      I’m doing my best and thanks to my amazing followers on twitter this post has been viewed thousands of times already and shared widely across the country, US and elsewhere.

      And I’m keeping in regular touch with people up in the Peace area, and will continue to provide updates. As of today, there were three people on site, one Elder and two lovely women in high spirits.

      That they posted this notice on New Years Eve was no accident. They wanted this to all disappear while everyone was distracted so they could start logging this week.

      There is a peaceful protest going to be held at the entrance,or perhaps even both to Site C Wednesday at 9:30 am. Anyone in the area is welcome to come as well as supporters from elsewhere,keeping in mind this is a peaceful protest only. No one wants issues. They want the government to stand down as they have been asked to do by many groups, including the Union of BC Municipalities and send it for a review.

      Like

  2. Brianp1950

    Out of control much like the BC Liberals. Yesterday therecwas an articl about hydro maybe waving the costs to mining companies until things improve. Thought we had the best economy in Canada? We do have the lowest corporate tax rate is that not enough? The BC Liberals are giving away this Province one piece at a time. They need to go the sooner the better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laila

      Yes, go figure. We get a rate increase, mining companies get to defer payments? Wow, if we defer payments we get our electricity cut off and half to pay an arm and a leg and our firstborn to get it reconnected…lol

      Like

  3. John's Aghast

    Part of the problem is that Chrispy and her sidekick ‘Big Rich’ don’t have to buy groceries. If they did they’d see dried up Brussels sprouts that look like monkey nuts for 4.25/lb (if you could find them at all) and cauliflower at $8/ head (Laila’s Special were $6/head if you DIDN’T buy them). All that flooded farmland could create thousands of agriculture jobs (okay, maybe not 100,000 like Chrispy can) creating food crops for hungry British Columbians. Mind you, it would take 125 Billion cauliflowers to equal Pamella Martin’s Trillion Dollar Prosperity fund, but then we’d have all the cauliflower AND a trillion dollars. Careful what you wish for Chrispy – you still have to feed those 100,000 workers, even if they are TFW’s.

    Like

  4. northernspirits

    As I walked through Fort Langley a couple of years ago I found the preservation of the past historical site there awe inspiring. However, what struck me the most was the irony given the lack of protection of this Peace River’s historical site. Rocky Mountain Fort has huge historical importance as the first fur trading post in BC yet no similar effort has been made to preserve it. In stark contrast, the BC government is quite willing and happy to flood it. One of the most important sites in the history of BC will be lost forever. It saddens me to see such a brutal disregard for history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laila

      My new MP John Aldag worked with Parks Canada for 32 years and recently managed that Fort Langley Site. And yes, it’s a hugely popular site and I believe many sites could be revived and protected for all to learn and enjoy… if the political will was there.

      It would be interesting to see if the Feds might be able to have some pull here on this.

      Like

  5. Teresa C

    Taking away BC farm land is just lunacy. Less and less is available in the world and BC. We can’t survive on electricity alone. We need food grown in healthy soil that isn’t transported from another country with different standards. The Peace River region has healthy farmland.

    Here is Damien Gillis Jan 2014 article.
    “A pair of highly-respected agricultural experts made a compelling case this week for sparing some of BC’s best farmland from a proposed dam on the Peace River. Together, veteran agrologist Wendy Holm and soil scientist Evelyn Wolterson argued that BC Hydro’s error-ridden study of the flood zone for the $10 billion proposed Site C Dam missed the unique soil and climate values that would enable this land to feed up to a million people – were the focus to shift from hydropower to farming.” http://commonsensecanadian.ca/peace-valleys-extraordinary-agricultural-values-threatened-site-c-dam/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bill

    Fast Ferries… pffft! ‘Quick Wins’? No not really…

    BC Rail, LNG and Sparkle Ponies, Bulldozing of Site C, Ruin of Rivers, 3Ps, Ministry of Children and Famly Destruction, Everything-Gate, Health Care Firings, Cover Up Commissions, ‘Balanced Fudgits’, etc. etc. etc. Delete, Delete, Delete. These ‘Liberal’s’ fix everything.

    Christy and Company are only for ‘Their Family First’, incompetent and corrupt…

    ‘They Railroad Everything’ – Snidley Whiplash would be so proud. What a Train Wreck!

    Time to Derail these Con Clowns and get back on track.

    Bill

    Liked by 1 person

          1. John's Aghast

            Works for me Laila, but what a bunch of bafflegab. Seventy-nine pages authorizing themselves to go ahead and rape the river with impunity. There is no authority or mechanism for denying any of the privileges they’ve granted themselves – a pointless exercise in verbage.

            Given the attention this group has given to previous Court Orders (the teachers strike eg.) what do you suspect will happen if the Courts should find in favor of the Treaty 8 appellants? Will the $1.5 Billion in construction activities cease? Are you kidding? They will forge ahead under appeal. “Too much has been invested to shut down now”. And it’ll take another two years to hear the appeal, at which time “too much has been invested to shut it down now”. In the meantime enough money to build Revelstoke Unit 6 will have been pissed away in legal fees – money that will have been provided by taxpayers opposed to this white elephant.

            Like

            1. I agree. Once again…where the hell is Horgan and the who’s? I know, Scotty, NOT their fault. But, then, who is going to stop this monumental catastrophe of greed and violation of the public trust? If not the opposition, then who?

              Like

            2. Laila

              After years of informally saying it’s really not needed,but doing little else, Horgan finally said he would revisit the decision and potentially cancel the project if elected in 2017. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-ndp-pledges-sweeping-energy-retrofits-to-create-jobs-save-on-rate-hikes/article27304882/

              I’m still wondering why the NDP waited until so late to get on board with the many groups, unions, cities opposed to it and have been calling for a halt for years. Years.

              For the NDP it was political. They didn’t want to be accused of being anti-business, anti jobs. https://lailayuile.com/2015/09/29/site-c-to-be-debated-in-bc-legislature-tomorrowrally-against-the-project-to-be-held-outside/

              Bc Hydro said it would cost the province $500 million dollars to cancel this project. I say do it. Do it now, pay out the termination clauses etc etc, because it’s a lot less than the $9billion dollar plus it will cost when and if it ever is completed.

              But can you imagine what will be lost if the government refuses to do the right thing and halt it, and send it to the BC Utilities Commission for a review? I can’t.

              I strongly think people all over the province need to support those in the Peace River who will lose homes, land, hunting site, heritage sites, medicinal and sacred sites. It’s wrong economically,environmentally, culturally and in a community sense. It will raise our Hydro rates.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Laila

              No-every contract has a termination clause. And paying that out would be far far less than building this dam when it isn’t needed.

              This is a must read study looking at years of major dam projects around the world. They found most went 96% over budget and were 44% late. https://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/227/large-dams-are-uneconomic-scientific-study-finds

              And because the BC Utilities commission never reviewed – as Bennett says in the screen shot above, they just get in the way of the provinces energy plans – taxpayers and citizens will never have the assurance that this project is needed,is priced right etc etc.

              And you can thank your government for that.

              Like

    1. Laila

      Not just enviro’s! This is something already opposed by economists, a former Hydro executive, reps from every city in the province, several mayors in the area of the damn… and regular taxpayers who don’t want to see massive debt for our province and higher Hydro rates as a result of this project.

      Like

  7. John's Aghast

    I AM GETTING ANGRY (so what, says Chrispy. Tell that to somebody who cares.) Does anyone think his/her MLA gives a fat rat’s donkey what your letters say? Delete, delete, delete. I only hope that I can, within the bounds of decency, become outrageous enough to motivate a few to become as incensed as I, and that they’ll initiate something more effective.

    Of course there are contractual termination clauses Laila, but who has the balls to exercise them? Who, amongst the crowd that enabled this venture, is going to say ‘we made a mistake, turn off the tap’? Which judge is going to shut it down, which RCMP officer is going to enforce a termination? Which jobless, starving, cauliflower-deprived soul is going to support the loss of jobs while the agri-business gears up (Brussels don’t sprout overnight.)

    Are you aware that 50% of the lower mainland population (my statistics) have never been to the Peace Country, don’t have the foggiest idea what this project is doing to our province and don’t appreciate cauliflower. (trust me, I didn’t either, until I discovered how to prepare it properly.) There should be a subsidized tour of the valley, perhaps aboard the old BCRail tour train with part of the proceeds from the economic bounce in the Peace reimbursing those taxpayers who have already been and paid. Cattle drive, horseback, campfire, cookout, river trip……..

    Okay, I’ve vented, responded to too many blogs and have a project that keeps me founded while my head is in the air. But the rest of you are not so fortunate (trust me). DO SOMETHING while I grapple with my problems. Ah’l be baack!

    Like

      1. Laila

        Very true. But thats why it’s important to share not only the story of why the project is wrong, but also the stories of the people who stand to lose so much. Please check out the new post and get that letter circulating as well. The feds are silent on this and the list of actions they can take is long.

        Like

      1. John's Aghast

        Are you crazy? Its pricey enough now. If I shared my recipe, demand would rise and the price would skyrocket. Better go with Laila – its insipid, bland tasteless and lacks any nutritional value. But they could plant corn, or sugar beets.

        Like

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  9. e.a.f.

    The loggers have been promised work. If the protestors deny them that work, this will become one of those occasions where you can get half the working class to kill the other half. The RCMP won’t have to do a thing and I’d suggest this is what the queen of photo-ops wants. it will place the enviornmentalists in a very bad light. They’ll be the violent ones. They’ll be the “bad guys”. then photo-op queen will have a lot more support.

    this will go ahead, regardless of what people do or say. Contracts have been signed, Promises and political contributions have been made. This is a huge opportunity for a lot of people to get rich. don’t think some protestors are going to get in the way of this.

    its winter so its a good time to get this under way from the government’s point of view and don’t expect the MSM to be reporting on this. They’re still reporting on the compass point cards not working. As long as they have that to report on, site C isn’t on their radar. For Site C to make it on to the news, it will first have to be covered by international news and that won’t happen until some one gets killed or its armed heaven, like in Oregon, which of course isn’t the Canadian way.

    Like

    1. Laila

      The Treaty 8 members at the site are not protesters.They are exercising their right to be on that land. Helen Knotts grandfather was an original Treaty 8 signer. The non-First Nations people that have been on site are landowners impacted by the project. They are supporting Treaty 8 members in exercising their rights.

      Trudeau is on the record as wanting to make a better relationship with First Nations via reconciliation. This would be a tremendous start and does not involve a call to Clark.The federal governments position is independent of the provinces. The letter above clearly outlines that.

      This isn’t about denying people work. It’s about what is right. It is also being framed that anyone who opposes it is an environmentalist and that isn’t accurate either. Economists have opposed it, former Hydro executives have opposed it, unions have opposed it. The union of BC Municipalities, made of representatives from every municipality in BC, have opposed it and asked the province to stop construction and send it to the BC Utilities Commission.

      No, as hard as some will try to make anyone who is opposed to this dam construction a radical enviro leftie unemployed activist protester, it simply is so far from the truth it’s laughable. None of them are interested in anything other than peaceful protest and supporting Treaty 8 members in exercising their right to be on that land.

      And I will make sure that truth remains known and told.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Good point. But what, exactly, IS the Canadian way? Silent, impotent surrender to all things with a dollar sign? WE only stood up once in meaningful protest and it was – of all the stupidest things – because we didn’t like the HST. We give away our resources, we sell anything saleable and we sweat the pennies of tax. Seriously….can we get any stupider? It is NOT jobs vs the environment. It is crooks vs the public good. Loggers know that.

    Like

    1. Laila

      Loggers in this province know full well what goes wrong when bad government decisions are made. That is well documented, the failures of various forest policies and practices. Bob Simpson, former MLA, did a lot of work on that issue.

      Like

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