Treaty group calls for halt to burial-site
Gulf Islands Driftwood, Friday, March 26,
By Driftwood Staff
Area First Nations are demanding protection for an
archaeological site currently under development beside the Harbour
House Hotel. Chief negotiator Robert Morales of the Hul'qumi'num
Treaty Group (HTG) outlined concerns about development of the ancient
cemetery and village site, Shiya'hwt, in a letter to Islands Trust
regional planning manager John Gauld.
"We observe that B.C. lacks the capacity or political
will to monitor and enforce developers’ issued permits and conditions,"
wrote Morales. The treaty group cited lack of provincial regulation
that recently resulted in "large-scale destruction" of burial sites
at Walker Hook on Salt Spring, and Bedwell Harbour on South Pender.
"We had hoped to avoid such an unfortunate situation in downtown
Ganges," states Morales.
The Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (SRM)
issued a heritage site alteration permit to Wayne Lee, on behalf
of Springbay Development Inc., contrary to wishes of the HTG, said
Morales. "Mr. Wayne Lee proposes to incur destruction upon some
of the site’s last remnant archaeological deposits for the purposes
of installing utility lines and sewer trenches."
According to an HTG site inspection on March 14,
Springbay has already conducted excavation and construction outside
permitted site alterations. On Tuesday, a delegation from the Cowichan
tribe met with Lee, Gauld and SRM heritage specialist Dave Hutchcroft
from the Archaeological Permitting Section. A Driftwood reporter
was denied access to the meeting held at the Harbour House Hotel.
"You are not invited," said Lee.