B.C. government opposes aboriginal group’s land claim near Kamloops
A legal fight is brewing over title to land in and around Kamloops.
The provincial government now says it will oppose an aboriginal rights and title claim filed by two First Nations, opposing a proposed open pit copper and gold mine.
“This is where we really truly believe that these First Nations have gone too far,” said Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson.
“This is one step too far, and we want British Columbians to know that we are going to vigorously defend the sanctity of private property and the rights of private property owners.”
The Tk’emlups and Skeetchestn bands declared title to Jacko Lake and surrounding private property last June and filed a claim in B.C. supreme court in September.
They claim the province and the mining company KGHM Ajax never consulted with them. They’re also concerned about the environmental impact on the surrounding area by the proposed mine.
“Yeah, it is private property, but who owns that property?” asked Ron Ignace, Chief of the Skeetchestn Indian Band.
“It’s a foreign company. How did they get those lands from the farmers that were there, I would like to know. Where was [Stone] in protecting those farmers privater property before the mining company took it over is the question.”
The province says it could be at least two years before the issue goes to court.
– With files from CFJC