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Sinixt case adjourned

The Sinixt First Nation blocked a road into Perry Ridge last fall, concerned they hadn
The Sinixt First Nation blocked a road into Perry Ridge last fall, concerned they hadn't been consulted about logging plans.
— image credit: Soniko photo/artbysoniko.com

The Sinixt First Nation’s constitutional challenge of logging on Perry Ridge will continue in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on January 24 and 25.

The hearing, which began last Monday, was expected to last five days, but didn’t wrap up in time, according to Nelson lawyer David Aaron, who is appearing for the Sinixt.

“It’s a bit complicated,” he says. “We’re hearing two things at the same time: the petitioners’ application for an interim injunction and the province’s application to strike the petition as a whole on the basis that the petitioners don’t have standing.”

Justice Peter Willcock refused a request to dismiss the case at the outset.

During arguments last week, the court heard from lawyers for the Sinixt, the attorney general, and Sunshine Logging of Kaslo, which holds the timber license in question.

When the case resumes next week, it’s expected to hear additional responses from the Sinixt and the attorney general. Aaron said he anticipates the case will conclude following those two days.

The Sinixt filed their claim last fall after B.C. Timber Sales granted the license to log on Perry Ridge. They say they were not consulted beforehand, but have a constitutional right to be, as the area falls within their traditional territory.

Sinixt members and supporters erected a protest camp on the logging road, which was removed after they won an order preventing any work from proceeding until their claim is resolved.

Several other parties are attending and observing the proceedings in Vancouver, including the B.C. Tap Water Alliance, Okanagan Nation Alliance, and Colville Business Council, although Aaron says they do not have intervener status.

“We are appalled that our government, through B.C. Timber Sales, continues to permit commercial logging in the public’s drinking watershed sources,” Will Koop of the Tap Water Alliance said in a release.

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