COMOX, B.C- More opposition to a groundwater extraction proposal in the Comox Valley is making itself known.
In a news release, Chief Nicole Rempel of K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) said the nation was “disappointed, but not surprised” to hear of a license being conditionally approved by the province for groundwater extraction along Sackville Road in Merville.
Landowners Christopher Scott Mackenzie and Regula Heynck, are looking for the rezoning of their property at 2410 Sackville Road to accommodate the extraction and bottling operation.
According to Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) briefing documents, the operation would have had extraction of up to 10 cubic metres of water per day, or 10,000 litres per day, from the bottling plant constructed on the applicant’s property.
The plan was unpopular amongst residents, who showed up in droves to protest at a recent CVRD committee meeting.
The license for the extraction was approved by the province, which Rempel said was a “major disappointment”, while stating that the applicants had previously come to Chief and Council on June 26 last year, and were met with denial. The KFN news release indicates that the province didn’t follow consultation procedure for their own approval of the license.
“It is an insult to our Nation and people,” stated Chief Nicole Rempel,” in the release.
“We were very clear with the applicants that at this time, we could not support their application because we are currently in a treaty process and negotiating for allocations of groundwater ourselves. Further to that, the indefinite length of term of the license, as well as the amount is of great concern. This is unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, and we adamantly oppose this licence issuance. KFN has watched as the resources in our territory have been stripped away and shipped away for far too long. In a time where both the Prime Minister and BC Premier have given mandates to their staff to uphold and honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, it is quite angering to have to continue the struggle for the rights of our people.”
Rempel said the province needed to “smarten up” and negotiate in good faith, and that she planned to raise the matter with Doug Donaldson, who serves as the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development in British Columbia.
Both Mackenzie and Heynck were unavailable for comment on Friday, while Rempel and KFN senior leadership were involved in treaty meetings.