Tsartlip First Nation stage peaceful protest over lack of consultation of region’s sewage pipeline

Tsartlip First Nation stage peaceful protest over lack of consultation of region's sewage pipeline
WatchThe pipes are going into the ground, and the region's sewage treatment facilities are under construction. After years of debate, and delay, the massive work is underway. But as Mary Griffin reports, it threatens to be derailed by a lack of consultation.

It’s all part of a massive $775 job, putting kilometres of pipeline underground. Eventually, it’ll pump sewage from the region to a new plant located at the Hartland Landfill. But this pipeline is coming up against opposition from the Tsartlip First Nation.

“Tsartlip is planning a protest because the Hartland landfill is bringing the residual solids conveyance line into our territory,” Joni Olsen, Tsartlip First Nation councillor said.

Scheduled to be finished by 2020, the pipeline will run a total of 30 kilometres, from McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Residuals Treatment Facility in the Hartland Landfill.

But it will have to go through Tsartlip traditional territory. And the Tsartlip say they were not adequately consulted about the work, and want their own cultural monitors on site.

“We’ve been at the table with them in good faith, and had good discussions. It just hasn’t moved anywhere. It just hasn’t we haven’t come to an agreement, and I don’t think we are hard to get along with,” Olsen said.

So, this afternoon, a peaceful protest at the entrance to the Landfill, just a reminder that this is Tsartlip territory.

“The CRD and the province are doing the minimum amount of work required of them. And our standard is much higher than that,” Tsartlip Chief Don Tom said.

While a meeting is scheduled for late September, that is not good for Chief Don Tom. And he’s promising more action.

“We don’t want to disrupt business right now. We just want to bring attention to the cause, and to our concerns. and so, I think if we are not successful in bringing this awareness to the CRD and the province, then we will escalate our activities,” Tom said.

The province says it is the responsibility of the Capital Regional District. The CRD would not make anyone available for an interview, but in a statement said it’s aware of the cultural concerns, and provides its own advisor who provides advice.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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