February 21, 2011 18:23 ET

Nlaka'pamux Nation Wins Appeal of Cache Creek Landfill Project

Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council Wins Appeal of Legal Challenge over Environmental Assessment of Cache Creek Landfill Extension Project

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor CACHE CREEK, BC, NEWS RELEASE--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2011) - The Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council ("NNTC") has won an important legal victory against proponents of the Cache Creek Landfill. The B.C. Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, has declared that a key part of the approval process for extending the life of the landfill was defective because it failed to adequately establish the necessary processes of consultation with the NNTC.

The project involves the extension of the existing Cache Creek Landfill, located southwest of the Village of Cache Creek, approximately 5 kilometres northwest of the Town of Ashcroft, and 330 kilometres northeast of Greater Vancouver, in an area of significant sustenance, spiritual and economic importance to the Nation. The existing landfill receives up to 500,000 tonnes of municipal waste per year from Metro Vancouver.

Throughout the process of attempts to place and expand waste disposal within the Nlaka'pamux Nation, which the Court of Appeal recognized as complex, the NNTC has remained consistent, disciplined and principled in its approach. Chief Robert Pasco, chair of the NNTC and chief of the Oregon Jack Creek Indian Band, is pleased with today's ruling, and stated that the Nlaka'pamux Nation is hopeful that in the face of the uncertainty created by this ruling for the future of the Cache Creek landfill, the provincial government will now come to the table and engage in meaningful consultation with the Nation:
"The Nation was never properly consulted at any stage of the environmental assessment process, and will be challenging the final Certificate, which was issued in an unseemly rush by the Minister of Environment early last year, absent the government expressing a willingness to now engage in a meaningful consultation process with us. The ruling today throws the continuing validity of that Certificate in considerable doubt, and a clear message has been sent by the Court that honourable and meaningful consultation is required. If that does not occur, further legal proceedings will ensue, where the constitutionality of the entire environmental assessment regime will be in issue given the lack of opportunity for meaningful participation by First Nations."

Chief Pasco added that the ruling has implications beyond just the Nation:
"Today's decision is very important for all First Nations in British Columbia, as it recognized that First Nations have to be directly and meaningfully involved in environmental assessment in this province, and cannot be shuffled off to some kind of secondary consultation process at the discretion of government officials. The Court of Appeal specifically acknowledged the importance of involving the NNTC in what it described as part of a "high-level planning process", and found that the project assessment director erred in leaving the NNTC off the scoping order for the project."

The NNTC believes that today's decision reinforces the leadership shown by Metro Vancouver in pursuing other solutions for its waste management problems other than shipping their garbage over 300 kilometres to be dumped into the backyards of First Nations. IN: ENVIRONMENT, POLITICS, TRANSPORT, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Chief Robert Pasco, Chair
    Primary Phone: 250-371-0775