Case dismissed over Lelu Island

Federal judge finds the appliant failed to provide evidence of community support

The federal court case over whether the Lax Kw’alaams band or tribe represents Lelu Island has been dismissed by the judge based on the applicant’s lack of standing to represent the Gitwilgyoots Tribe.

In the case between Donald Wesley, also known as Yahaan, of Gitwilgyoots versus Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Crown, Justice Robert Barnes found that “Yahaan failed to produce evidence of community support, but what evidence there is suggests that he is opposed by a substantial number of Gitwilgyoots members,” as stated in the decision on July 26.

Lelu Island and Flora Bank came into question following Petronas’ interest in building the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG liquefied natural gas project for the area. Lax Kw’alaams Band gave support for the project in March 2016, and the federal government approved the project in September.

However, Wesley argued that the federal government did not properly consult with him as a representative of the Gitwilgyoots, one of the nine tribes of the Coast Tsimshian Nation, and he filed for a judicial review challenging the environmental assessment and decision making process that lead to the approval of the Petronas LNG project.

RELATED: TRIBE OR BAND, A JUDGE WILL DECIDE WHO REPRESENTS LELU

But following the hearings in early June, Justice Barnes found that Wesley is not “an appropriate person to act in a representative capacity” for several reasons, including that he failed to prove both his leadership claim and that he was authorized by members to launch the court proceeding on their behalf.

In his decision, Justice Barnes refers to the protest camp Wesley started on Lelu Island in August 2015 to challenge the LNG project.

“His very late intervention and his occupation of Lelu Island are both obvious attempts to frustrate the will of the majority of the Coast Tsimshian people who are satisfied with the resulting accommodations and benefits,” Barnes stated in the decision. In February 2017, Mayor John Helin signed a $98 million LNG benefits agreement for the community.

“Yahaan has not shown that he has the capacity to carry these proceedings forward or to conduct any meaningful consultation with the Crown should he prevail in the underlying application,” Barnes stated.

The case was dismissed a day after the Petronas cancelled its LNG project Lelu Island citing market conditions.



shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

WEB POLL: What should the theme be for Seafest 2018?

Planning for Seafest 2018 has begun and the event’s organizers want to… Continue reading

The first snowfall of the season for Rupert

Environment Canada says the snow in Prince Rupert will change to rain later in the day

Sport Briefs

Here’s what’s going on in sports this weekend

Downtown location found for an emergency shelter

Prince Rupert mayor asks community to direct financial support to the North Coast Transition Society

Council extends bylaw prohibiting recreational marijuana sales

Prince Rupert’s existing bylaw was extended from Jan. 1 to July 1. 2018, when the provincial government is expected to announce regulations

A new husband-and-wife duo take the Salvation Army reins

Sabrina and Greg Silvey prepare for this year’s Christmas Hamper program in Prince Rupert

CONTEST: Send us your Hammy photos to win a free T-shirt

Submit your best Hammy the deer photo by Nov. 30 to be entered to win

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness to kick off season

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

B.C. church defaced with disturbing anti-Christian graffiti

Staff at Crossroads United Church reported the vandalism to police late last week

PayPal ordered to disclose business accounts to Canada Revenue Agency

Online payments company has 45 days to hand over information identifying its account holders

Federal government to boost treatment options for opioid drug users: minister

More than 2,800 people died last year as a result of the overdose crisis

Ambulance design changes urged after B.C. man falls out, dies

A coroner’s jury makes recommendations after hearing about death of Ebony Aaron Wood

Most Read