Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nation says an 1899 treaty gives his community title to land in the Peace River valley that’s vital to both projects.

He says a recent verdict from the Supreme Court of Canada has strengthened his First Nations’ say on any industrial development on that land.

Decisions are expected in October from the federal environmental minister and the B.C. environmental assessment office on whether the Site C dam can go ahead.

The dam would be the third on the Peace River, resulting in 5,550 hectares of land being flooded over an 83 kilometre stretch of valley. However, it would also generate an estimated 1,100 megawatts of capacity, the equivalent of power for 450,000 homes a year.

A federal/provincial joint review panel, conducted in May, has yet to make a clear recommendation.

B.C. Hydro has gone on record saying the company needs the dam to provide for future needs while also meeting the province’s legislated clean energy targets.

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With files from The Globe and Mail / The Canadian Press