Heritage Canada The National Trust has listed the Peace River Valley of Northeastern British Columbia as one of the top ten most endangered historical sites in Canada. A lot of focus has been put on First Nations rights, loss of farmland and the huge environmental impact that Site C dam will have on the area. Conversations about the regions historical importance have been sitting on the backburner; however, thanks to the Heritage Canada article we’re reminded of the rich and important history of the region.
Heritage Canada explains that “archaeological evidence and oral history bear witness to at least 10,500 years of human occupation along the Peace River Valley, marking it as an important prehistoric migration route.” The Treaty 8 Nations of West Moberly, Prophet River First Nations and McLeod Lake Indian Band are standing up and defending the land in court, protecting the rich history and ensuring that future generations can also experience this remarkable region by bringing provincial and federal governments to court at the end of July.
The article goes on to say that “the Site C project would also destroy 78 First Nations heritage sites—including burial grounds—as well as 337 archaeological sites, 27 built heritage sites (including remains of fur trade forts), and 4 paleontological sites.”
History of the Dam Proposal
Site-C dam was first proposed in the mid-twentieth century, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that Site C dam project was considered and rejected by the independent BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) because the electricity it would produce would be too expensive, and was not shown to be needed to power the province’s homes, businesses or industries. In the 1990s, the project was suspended again because the need for power was still insufficient. The proposal would likely have been turned down once again by the BCUC in 2010, but the province removed Site C from BCUC’s oversight, which meant that the agency responsible for determining whether or not the proposed Site C dam has a credible business case and is in the public interest was silenced. Thanks to the request of the Joint Review Panel, BC Energy Minister Bill Bennett recently agreed to let the BCUC review Site C – but not give them the right to decide whether the project goes forward or not, that will be left to the discretion of the provincial government.
Join the Circle
Join the Circle campaign will be raising funds to support Treaty 8 Nations in their legal challenges and any support you can offer is greatly appreciated. If you’d be interested in hosting a fundraiser you can sign up here to quickly and easily start your own fundraising page!