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Digging worries Kwikwetlem First Nation
Kwikwetlem First Nation is concerned that excavation of a channel between reserve land and Colony Farm Regional Park is putting fish habitat, the dike and, possibly, two archeological sites at risk.
But a Metro Vancouver parks manager says work done to clear out the ditch was not unusual and was part of annual maintenance of the regional park.
In a letter, the Kwikwetlem First Nation called for better protocols when work is done in the area.
"They have a process they want us to follow, now they are doing stuff without doing their own process," Chief Ron Giesbrecht told The Tri-City News
But Gudrun Jensen, Metro's acting regional parks director, says the work was done in accordance with an environmental plan under the stewardship of a consultant.
"He notified everybody. As far as we know, the work was done as per the environment plan," Jensen said.
Giesbrecht said the band was told about brush clearing but didn't expect the excavation with a backhoe. He's worried there were no archeological professionals on hand when the excavation was done near two known archeological sites.
"You never know when that soil is disturbed what's there unless you have someone knows what to look for," Giesbrecht said.
There's also concerns that fish habitat may have been affected because the channel is connected to the Fraser River.
Giesbrecht is calling on Metro Vancouver to put a protocol in place and to stick to it when doing work that might impact reserve land.
Meanwhile, Jensen said she would look further into the matter.
"Our whole motivation is to build and keep a good relations with the Kwikwetlem First Nation," she said. "We want to be respectful and know how we can address their concerns as much as as possible."
As many as 30 archeological sites have been identified on the Kwikwetlem reserve and last year an arrow head linked to the Kwikwetlem was reportedly found near a BC Hydro project near Minnekhada Regional Park.
According to the band, archeological evidence links the Kwikwetlem to the area since the last ice age, 9,000 years ago.