Friday, March 20, 2015

Colliery Dams Clarification - Snuneymuxw First Nation

Colliery Dams
March 20, 2015. Nanaimo

Snuneymuxw First Nation (SFN) is becoming increasingly concerned about misinformation regarding its position on the Colliery Dams.

In engaging with the Province and the City of Nanaimo on the Colliery Dams, SFNs has consistently advanced three key interests: 1) public safety; 2) protection of the environment; and 3) recognition of the right of SFN to carry on its fisheries as formerly enshrined in the Treaty of 1854.         

Since 2013, SFN has worked closely with the City of Nanaimo to investigate and develop a solution for remediating the Colliery Dams. This included participation by SFN in a very rigorous and facilitated process designed by SFN, the City and the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society. In 2014, this process culminated in a joint recommendation by City Staff and SFN representatives for remediation of the Lower Dam by enlarging the spillway through a labyrinth design.

In July 2014, SFN Council unanimously adopted a motion on the Colliery Dams. This motion contained two parts: 1) if the City decides to enlarge the spillway on the Lower Dam through a labyrinth design, SFN will support it; and 2) SFN acknowledges that as the operator of the dams, the City is ultimately responsible to comply with applicable dam safety standards and regulations and, as long as SFN’s key interests are met, SFN will not impede the City in fulfilling its legal responsibilities.

This decision of SFN Council was communicated very clearly to the City and the Province. SFN’s position has not changed.

“This whole process for the Colliery Dams has become highly politicized” Chief Wesley said. “People are lobbying us to fight the Province’s Dam Safety Section or support their view that the dams are completely safe. Snuneymuxw will not be used to advance someone else’s political agenda”, he said.  

“SFN has never dictated to the City what it must do to remediate the dams. This is not our way to solve problems”  Chief Wesley said. “We value our relationship with the City and Mayor McKay. If they want our help, they only need to ask” he said.        


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