West Moberly First Nations concludes Supreme Court hearing

By Christine Rumleskie

The West Moberly First Nation has wrapped up its final day in B.C. Supreme Court.

Members of the first nation have been in Victoria since Monday, taking part in a judicial review on the Province’s decision to allow development in caribou habitat.

Chief Roland Willson discussed the situation during a courtroom break on Thursday.

Willson says the debate started when the Province granted mining permits to Vancouver-based First Coal. He says the company is now legally allowed to extract bulk samples, in the heart of the Treaty 8 land – an area that is home to the last 11 Burnt Pine Caribou.

He says the decision is violating the First Nations treaty rights.

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In October, First Coal President and CEO, Doug Smith, said the company has established a ‘caribou mitigation and monitoring plan’ with their biologist consultants. But Roland says the company cannot mitigate the extinction of a species.

The judicial court proceedings started on Monday this week, and will be completed on Thursday.

Willson says he feels confident the West Moberly First Nation have made a good argument. The judge could make a decision at any time, but is expected to return with a ruling in a month or two.

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The West Moberly First Nation has a population of around 190 people, and is located approximately 90km southwest of Fort St. John.


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