Sekw'el'was says survey finds DoL water intake is on its land

In a news release this afternoon, Sekw’el’was (Cayoose Creek Band) says it has asked for and been given an adjournment of the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) hearing that was scheduled to begin in Lillooet at the end of this month.

In the hearing, Sekw’el’was planning to challenge the provincial government’s decision authorizing the District of Lillooet to build a water intake in the Seton River/Cayoosh Creek.

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Chief Michelle Edwards said this afternoon the EAB agreed to adjourn the matter until boundaries of the reserve and the Cayoosh Creek Campground District of Lillooet Lot are “properly determined.”

She said a report recently prepared for the federal government by a Canada Lands Surveyor found that there is an error with respect to the boundary line between the Cayoosh Creek Campground (where the intake is located) and Cayoose Creek Reserve #1 “which is causing the District’s water intake and wells to encroach upon our reserve.

“The report confirms the reserve boundary issues that we have been raising with the province and district for decades,” the chief added.

The report’s findings and recommendations are currently being reviewed by the Surveyor-General of Canada and the Surveyor-General of British Columbia.

Chief Edwards stated, “We will determine our next steps following this review.”

She added that the provincial government and the District of Lillooet failed to consult with Sekw’el’was on the decision to build the water intakes and wells, and her band never authorized the District to build on that site.

The District has maintained that is has fee simple title to the Cayoosh Creek Campground ever since it purchased the property decades ago. 

Mayor Marg Lampman told the News around 3 this afternoon that she would not comment on Chief Edwards’ statement until the District has had time to consult with the municipality’s lawyers.

Chief Edwards said Sekw’el’was will take “all steps necessary” to ensure that the boundaries of the reserve are properly surveyed, recognized and respected.

“However,” she concluded, “we see this as a progressive step forward to helping the parties resolve a longstanding and difficult issue.”

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