Victoria Council Supports First Nation Call for Mining Moratorium

Wilderness Committee, April 11, 2014

Victoria City Council passes motion supporting First Nation’s call for mining moratorium

First Nation and environmentalists pleased with Council decision

VICTORIA – On Thursday, April 10th, Victoria City Council passed a motion supporting the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s call for a moratorium on mining in its territory in Clayoquot Sound.

The motion, moved by Councillor Ben Isitt on March 21, came in response to a letter from Moses Martin, Chief Councillor of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. The Tla-o-qui-aht declared their territory off-limits to mining activity after the provincial government issued a gold exploration permit to Vancouver-based Imperial Metals late last summer.

“We’re happy to see the City of Victoria stand with us and support our call for a moratorium on mining activity,” said Saya Masso, Councillor and Resource Manager for the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. “We hope this raises awareness on this issue and that the provincial government will follow suit and respect our opposition to mining in our territory.”

Imperial Metals plans to explore and potentially open a mine at the Fandora site in the Tranquil Valley, near Tofino. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has declared the area a Tribal Park and is developing a sustainable management plan.

Environmental groups like the Wilderness Committee have been working to highlight the threat of mining in Clayoquot Sound and support the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s efforts to have Tribal Parks recognized by the BC government.

“I’m really proud of City Council for passing this motion,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. “Clayoquot Sound is no place for a mine. The Tla-o-qui-aht are the original stewards of the land, and it’s good to see Victoria respect their leadership on this.”

The District of Tofino Council has also passed a motion to formally support the Tla-o-qui-aht’s vision for the future of their traditional territory – one that does not include the Fandora mine.

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and environmentalists are calling on the provincial government to withdraw the exploration permit, and honour the Tla-o-qui-aht’s call for a moratorium on mining activity.

– 30 –

For more information, contact:

Saya Masso | Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Torrance Coste | Vancouver Island Campaigner, Wilderness Committee

5 Issues/yr — $25 print; $15 digital