Neskonlith Indian Band in timber battle with BC government
The chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band has decided not to attend the Assembly of First Nations meeting in Gatineau, Que. because she has more pressing issues to deal with at home.
The band is in a battle with the British Columbian government over logging.
More than two dozen hectares of timber are being harvested near the Neskonlith band’s reserve, near Chase.
The band feels it should have been consulted.
“Even though the government put us on small reserves, we still hold the territorial title to our lands, which also includes those trees on our land. So when there is logging that’s happening, they need to come and talk to us,” Neskonlith Indian Band Chief Judy Wilson said.
The band said the logging is going to have an impact on the watershed, as it has in the past.
“We used to have three ponds down lower in the reserve here and because of whatever they’re doing up in the hill, now we have another lake forming down at the bottom. So they’re not considering what’s happening to us,” Chief Wilson said.
But the Ministry of Forests insist it did everything by the book. It maintains the current woodlot holder purchased the tenure in April 2012 and since that time, the holder has been issued and completed three cutting permits without stated opposition from the Neskonlith Indian Band.
The government goes on to say that reasonable efforts to engage with, and accommodate, the interests of the Neskonlith Indian Band have been made.
But the band says it wants “deep” consultations with Forest Minister Steve Thomson and the premier.
The band is looking at its next option, including the possibility of legal action, but admits it could be a very expensive battle.
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