News

Local Sinixt continue Perry Ridge logging challenge

Marilyn James of the local Sinixt First Nation, seen here at an anti-Jumbo resort rally, says they have a right to consultation on Perry Ridge. - Bob Hall photo
Marilyn James of the local Sinixt First Nation, seen here at an anti-Jumbo resort rally, says they have a right to consultation on Perry Ridge.
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

BC’s Attorney General has applied to dismiss an appeal by local members of the Sinixt First Nation against logging on Perry Ridge in the Slocan Valley.

According to a news release issued on behalf of the Sinixt, the government says the appeal is moot because the cut blocks have already been completed.

However, Nelson lawyer David Aaron, acting for the Sinixt, argued the appeal is still valid since there is new planning for road extension and areas of interest shown on Ministry of Forests maps.

“Future monitoring and consultation, due to damages, are required, which further supports the need for the appeal,” the statement said.

A report commissioned by the Perry Ridge Water Users Association and authored by Dr. Tony Salway in September found Dragonfly Creek, which drains from Dragonfly Lake, an area recently logged, damaged private property from increased runoff this spring.

As a result of the government’s application, the appeal was not heard June 4 and 5 as scheduled. A decision on whether it can proceed will be decided in the next few weeks, the statement indicated. If it does go ahead, it’s expected to be heard in the fall.

In the meantime, local Sinixt spokeswoman Marilyn James says a road extension is ribboned on top of Perry Ridge and “areas of interest” are being assessed for future cutblocks.

“Sinixt have a title claim and that entitles our people to consultation and to our aboriginal rights under the constitution,” she said.

“We have the right to be who we are, represent who we are and follow the laws of our people to protect our territory, which includes the water, land, wildlife, burial grounds and village sites of our people.”

The local Sinixt brought a constitutional challenge against the logging operation, which a judge dismissed in February 2011.

They were seeking a judicial review of the timber sale license awarded to Kaslo’s Sunshine Logging, arguing a constitutional right to consultation before the license was granted, as Perry Ridge is part of their traditional territory.

However, Justice Peter Willcock said the group was not “capable of sufficiently precise definition with respect to their membership.”

Following a standoff on Perry Ridge that ended peacefully, the work proceeded, although some plugged culverts were later found. BC Timber Sales said it wasn’t likely the result of nature, although no one was caught.

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