Case dismissed over Lelu Island

Federal judge finds the applicant 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

Lelu IslandPacific NorthWest LNG

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

CityWest announces new CEO

Stefan Woloszyn will start Aug. 17 to head up Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Terrace and Smithers region

CityWest announces new CEO

Stefan Woloszyn will start Aug. 17 to head up Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Terrace and Smithers region

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read