A letter in support of opposing a Tribal Park by the Mayor of Williams Lake has been deferred by City Council for endorsement for 6 weeks.
Mayor Walt Cobb says although discussion had pursued and Chief Roger William and Chief Russell Myers-Ross were in attendance to answer questions and provide updates, he still remains opposed to Dasiqox Tribal Park.
He says that time frame for discussion will not be enough.
“And when you look at any park we have, there’s no forestry, there’s no ranching, there’s no tourism operators-it’s a huge area.”
“There’s already ranchers and tourism operators in that area who have told me that they’ve been told that when this park is dedicated that they’re history.”
“Now we were told that may not happen or that won’t happen. Who knows what will happen. We don’t know what this park dedication actually means or what’s going to be allowed in it.”
Chief Myers-Ross meanwhile says that many connotations exist with the 300,000 hectare Park which has three features including ecosystem protection, economy for sustainable livelihoods, and cultural revitalization.
“For us, the Dasiqox Tribal Park is a means of going from conflicts that we’ve had with governments and third-party interests into a way we’re going to create an envisioning process and alternative for ourselves to sort of share what we would present if we were to get economic development in our area.”
He says Cobb is coming from a place of fear.
“He (Cobb) hasn’t had time to sit down with us and talk about what our interests are. I think we’re more than willing to hear out all the interests of different parties, but I think we want to emphasize on maintaining the local residents and our own local communities have a priority of interests heard so I’m looking forward to speaking with Walt or to Betty Anderson (Cariboo Regional District-Area K Director).”
“I’ve had intentions to but we haven’t gotten around to it.”
Area K (East Chilcotin) Director, Betty Anderson who had spoken before Council in a delegation, said many individuals are fearful of retaliation for having and coming forward with their differing views.
She said many people have left the Chilcotin and need a reason to return.
Chief Myers-Ross says they will be trying to build off the momentum from last year and have a gathering in the area in the upcoming days.
Dasiqox Tribal Park is an expression of governance initiated by Yunesit’in and Xeni Gwet’in, supported by the Tsilhqot’in Nation and was announced on October 4th, 2014.
Cobb says he will be considering sending a letter of opposition on his own behalf with Anderson to provincial and federal governments.
Further information on the Park which would be located about 125 km southwest of Williams Lake can be found at http://www.dasiqox.org/