More precious than gold

Tofino – Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations (TFN) continue to oppose proposed exploration for gold in the Tranquil Valley Tribal Park. Last August Vancouver-based Selkirk Metals (owned by Imperial Metals Corporation) was granted a permit despite opposition from TFN. The Tla-o-qui-aht are not satisfied with the level of consultation by the company and the BC government. The District of Tofino passed a resolution supporting the Tla-o-quiaht and their vision for the future of their traditional territory in Clayoquot Sound, one that does not include the Fandora mine.

“We’re not anti-development; we’re pro-sustainable development,” said Saya Masso, Tla-o-quiaht Natural Resource Manager and councillor. “As a First Nation working hard for a resilient homeland and sustainable economies, it’s upsetting to be disregarded by the consultation process that the government is using to approve projects like this.”

British Columbia’s Mineral Tenure Act is still based on a ‘free entry’ system which has been abandoned in many other jurisdictions including Alberta. For over 150 years mining activity has been given priority over virtually all other land uses and generated conflict over mining activity throughout BC. The District of Tofino put forward a resolution last fall at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference calling on the provincial government to work with First Nations, local governments, industry and citizens to modernize BC’s mining laws. The resolution was passed with overwhelming support.

Clayoquot Action will be hosting an event, ‘More precious than gold’, to explore these issues more fully. Speakers will include Saya Masso, Jessica Clogg, Executive Director of West Coast Environmental Law, and Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne. The event will take place on Tuesday March 4th at 7:30 pm at the Tofino Botanical Gardens Ecolodge. Everyone is welcome to attend. For more information: clayoquotaction.org.

Dan Lewis

Tofino