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Justice bus helps raise cash to fight Site C

On a day when Site C opponents suffered several legal setbacks, an environmental group from the Lower Mainland helped out those against the dam.
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Kathy Cook cleans a car at the Treaty 8 Tribal Association building parking lot Aug. 28.

On a day when Site C opponents suffered several legal setbacks, an environmental group from the Lower Mainland helped out those against the dam.

Fifteen people went to the Treaty 8 Tribal Association parking lot Friday to help with a car wash to raise funds for a legal fund for First Nations that are fighting the dam in court.

These people were part of KAIROS Rolling Justice bus tour, which has gone across the province to look at issues of development, First Nations relationships, and more, according to regional representative Janet Gray.

KAIROS is a group made of churches and religious organizations for ecological justice and human rights, according to their website. 

"Many of us have never been to rural areas. Although we might have very strong opinions about things to do with climate justice or indigenous rights or food security, (or) energy extraction resources, many of us haven't had those opportunities to be in those places where those things are happening," said Gray. "We wanted to talk to the people on the ground."

So far on their trip, the group has sat and talked with elders in a Stó:lo Nation longhouse, met with an environmental group in Kamloops concerned over a potential mine nearby, and toured the largest Native Friendship Centre in B.C., located in Prince George.

The group planned to meet with locals affected by the Site C dam, said Gray.

"In this day age and age, we need to look at creating new energy which is just going to show a different story for our future," she said. "Creating dams is not the answer."

That helped compel the group to raise $400 over three hours at Friday's car wash. 

Gray said she felt  "great disappointment and sadness" upon learning the news that a judicial review petition had been shot down by a federal court hours before the car wash.

Still, her support was not unnoticed by at least one local still involved in the fight against the dam.

"(The tour) shows that residents of B.C. do care what happens here, and people are affected by the Site C dam," said Verena Hoffman of the Treaty 8 Tribal Association.

"It will make their power bills higher. It will affect decisions in terms of how government does resource planning in the future. It's all about humanity and social justice, and people have not given BC Hydro the licence to go ahead."

These city folks have also learned a new appreciation for the province they call home.

"This province is beautiful and its full of many beautiful people," Gray said. "Unless you actually leave the city, you don't get a sense of how big (B.C.) is."

 

reporter@ahnfsj.ca