B.C. Supreme Court rejects Site C permits challenge

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has dismissed a legal challenge seeking to overturn provincial permits for construction of the Site C dam. 

On Monday, Justice Robert Sewell delivered his verdict in the case, in which the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations argued they were inadequately consulted on permits that allowed early construction work for the dam, including logging and road building. 

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It was the First Nations, not the provincial government, who "frustrated" the consultation process, Sewell determined.

"I am satisfied that the process of consultation was frustrated by the positions taken by the petitioners and, in particular, by their refusal to engage in consultation within a reasonable timeframe," Sewell wrote.

"I am satisfied that the province was prepared to engage in meaningful consultation and that both the province and BC Hydro were prepared to provide funding to assist the petitioners in such consultation."

According to the CBC, the First Nations' claim arose from an agreement between the province and the Treaty 8 Tribal Association to design a custom consultation process over the $8.8-billion dam, which will flood more than 100 kilometres of the Peace River valley and its tributaries, impacting Treaty-protected traditional land uses.

The two First Nations argued that the province failed to consult them by discussing permits with Treaty 8 First Nations before that custom consultation process was agreed upon, the CBC reported.

Sewell has dismissed two previous legal challenges against the dam brought forward by the Peace Valley Landowner Association and West Moberly and Prophet River

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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