Crown may proceed with B.C. logging auction against First Nations’ wishes: court

Source: WikiCommons
Source: WikiCommons

VANCOUVER – A judge has refused to block British Columbia’s government from auctioning off 15 logging licenses within the traditional territory of a First Nation in the province’s northeast.

B.C. Supreme Court has dismissed an injunction application by the Blueberry River First Nations connected to almost 1,700 hectares of marketable timber in the upper Peace River Region.

The application is part of a much broader lawsuit in which the First Nation alleges its treaty rights have been violated wholesale, in a region that will be home to the province’s controversial Site C hydroelectric dam.

In applying for the injunction, the First Nation argued the Crown breached its treaty obligations with the cut-block auction, which is slated for August.

However, the Crown says the First Nation has long known about the proposed logging, was consulted and didn’t object until a recent change in its leadership.

The judge says the First Nation may be able to persuade the courts to put a wide-ranging hold on industrial activity until the broader lawsuit is heard, but he says the public interest is not served by dealing with the issue project by project.