The Province has filed its response to the Tk’emlúps and Skeetchestn First Nations Aboriginal rights and title claim filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Sept. 21, 2015.
The B.C. Government will vigorously oppose a declaration that has the potential to create uncertainty over the land base and for private property owners across this territory. At the same time, government will continue to work collaboratively with First Nations to ensure they have a meaningful role in land and resource management, and that they share the resulting benefits and economic opportunities. While these efforts will continue, government must and will always defend, with conviction, the sanctity of private land and private land rights.
The Province has been at the negotiating table with Tk’emlúps and Skeetchestn First Nations, clearly demonstrating our commitment to negotiate rather than litigate. We have been in discussions with both First Nations on a number of areas of interest, including their claim of Aboriginal title over land around the proposed Ajax mine site. We are continuing those discussions and are seeking ways to reconcile the interests of all parties.
The Province is also developing a collaborative consultation approach with the First Nations for the environmental assessment and other associated permitting of the proposed mine. British Columbia environmental assessments provide significant opportunities for First Nations to participate, to make their concerns and ideas known, and to improve projects.
These efforts will continue as we work through this court process.
B.C.’s response to the Notice of Civil Claim can be located here: http://ow.ly/X7PQx