Nechako Nations file suit against Rio Tinto Alcan

Rio Tinto Alcan is again the target of a law suit relating to its Kenney Dam/reservoir operations.

Rio Tinto Alcan is again the target of a law suit relating to its Kenney Dam/reservoir operations.

On September 29 the Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations (referred to as the Nechako Nations in what follows) filed a civil claim in the BC Supreme Court.

The filing says that between them, the two hold aboriginal title to “the Nechako River and the lands along the banks of the Nechako River and its lakes and tributaries including the Stellaquo River, Nautley River, Stoney Creek, Fraser lake, Tachick Lake and Nulki Lake.”

The opening ‘statement of facts’ notes the Nechako River and watershed “has long been, and continues to be, a key source of the [Nechako Nations’] culture, sustenance and fisheries resources.”

And that with the construction of the Kenney Dam in 1952, RTA (Alcan as it was then) “dramatically altered the amount, timing and quality of water flowing into the Nechako River.”

That in turn “impacted and continues to cause unreasonable damage to the rights and interests of the [Nechako Nations] in their property and territories including the lands, waters and fisheries within them.”

While noting that RTA says it has the right to control and divert the Nechako based on various agreements it has signed and licences it has received over the years, the filing notes that the Nechako Nations were not party to any of those and therefore those agreements and licences “are not competent to authorize interference with the [Nechako Nations] legal interests and rights.

And that the adverse impacts of the dam and diversion of the Nechako River included:

q erosion of the banks of the Nechako and its tributaries;

q unnatural sedimentation in the Nechako;

q unnatural flooding and high water flows at times of the year; and

q interference with the ecology of the Nechako impacting vegetation and wildlife.

That translated into a reduction of fisheries resources including salmon, trout and sturgeon, “the gradual process towards extinction of the Nechako River sturgeon”, loss of spawning habitat and changed water flows and temperatures that interfered with the ability of fish to survive and thrive.

Therefore the civil claim seeks an interim injunction “from conducting its operations at the Kenney Dam in such a manner as to cause like nuisances to the [Nechako Nations] and a permanent injunction against “the continuance or repetitions of  said nuisance or from conducting its operations at the Kenney dam in such a manner as to cause like nuisances.”

Plus a mandatory injunction requiring RTA to release waters into the Nechako River “in quantities and times that would have the effect of ensuring that the proprietary interests of the [Nechako nations] are not unreasonably interfered with and of abating the harm suffered by [them].”

The “concise summary” at the end of the filing says the Nechako Nations seek an injunction compelling RTA to release water into the Nechako from the reservoir “undiminished in quality and quantity and sufficient to enable the restoration of viable fish habitat and spawning grounds in the Nechako and its tributaries.”

Asked for comment, RTA community and corporate affairs manager Colleen Nyce said, “Rio Tinto Alcan is taking the time necessary to review the statement of claim received a few days ago. As this matter is before the courts, we will not make further comment.”


Just Posted

Coast Mountains School District No. 82 acting superintendent of schools, Janet Meyer, talks about policies and procedures relating to the death of Diversity Morgan, a LGBTQ+ student. (Black Press file)
School District 82 to revisit policy after transgender student’s death

Diversity’ death has created a deeper resolve for CMSD 82 to continue doing the work they started

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Outside the Kitimat RCMP police station, Diversity Morgan’s family and Kitimat RCMP come together for a pride flag-raising ceremony. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
With heavy hearts, the Kitimat RCMP hosted a pride flag ceremony to highlight the RCMP’s commitment to inclusion and diversification, as well as honouring the passing of 15-year-old transgender student, Diversity Morgan, from Kitimat.
Speeches were given by Staff Sergeant Graham Morgan, Mayor Phil Germuth, Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith, and Diversity’s father, Mike Wilson.
“We are gathered here for the pride flag ceremony, but in my mind, we’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination. […] Today we celebrate what makes us all unique individuals,” Mayor Phil Germuth said in his speech at the pride flag ceremony.
Struggling to get the words out, Crystal Smith, Haisla Nation’s chief councillor, emphasized her condolences to Diversity’s family in her speech sharing her similar experiences as well as acknowledging the need for education around these subjects.
Diversity’s father, Mike Wilson, said he wished that everyone was there under different circumstances but was grateful to see the turnout and the support from the community.
In honour of Diversity, the Kitimat RCMP also lowered their Canadian flag to half-mast, to bring awareness for people who are experiencing discrimination and are in need of additional support.
The Kitimat RCMP also stated that they will be lowering their Canadian flag around this time every year as a visual representation of LGBTQ+.
Kitimat Save-On-Foods also donated water and snacks for the ceremony.
Kitimat RCMP host pride flag ceremony in memory of Diversity Morgan

“We’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination”

(Haisla First Nation logo)
Haisla Nation host walk for strength and series of virtual sessions for Indigenous History Month

The purpose of the walk is to bring Haisla Nation members together and show their collective support

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read