The Tenizul Forest Service Road was temporarily blockaded yesterday morning by area first nations keyoh holders, but has since reopened for access to the area.
The Leo Creek Forest Service Road (FSR) has been blockaded since Monday morning, impacting logging activity in the area, as well as mining exploration work and hunters and other recreational users wanting to access the area.
Those at the blockade on Tuesday said they were considering including Tenizul in the blockade to increase the pressure on the government to negotiate with the keyoh-holders, however they were not sure of the details.
Tl’azt’en First Nation has agreements in place with the government for resource extraction in the area, however, the keyoh-holders say they are not satisfied with what has been going on in terms of industrial activity and no one has consulted with the keyohs, which actually have the hereditary rights to the land and resources.
Tl’azt’en did not respond to interview requests.
The Central Interior Logging Association’s MaryAnne Arcand said there are as many as six contractors being impacted by the blockades, costing them $50,000-$100,000 per day in lost revenue.
“It’s a very difficult time for these guys,” said Arcand.
Frost Lake Logging said their operations have not been heavily impacted so far, but it has blocked access to their camp on the Leo Creek FSR.
“We don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, we want to get along with everybody,” said Smith. “Right now it hasn’t effected us too badly, but it will depend on how long it goes on.”
“We have been treated fairly and kindly by everybody so we’re just trying to keep the peace,” he said.
A meeting today between the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations, keyoh-holders and Tl’azt’en Nation is hoped to help address the situation and the protestors’ concerns.
“The province is aware of the concerns of Dzit’lain’li Community Keyoh holders of Tl’azt’en Nation regarding resource activity in their traditional territory,” said Brennan Clarke, ministry spokesperson in an email statement. “”These issues have been the subject of ongoing discussions over the summer between the Tl’azt’en chief and band council, the keyoh holders, the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.”
RCMP are also continuing to monitor the situation.