B.C. government opposes First Nations title claim around Ajax

By James Peters
January 15, 2016 - 11:58am Updated: January 15, 2016 - 5:38pm

KAMLOOPS — The province of British Columbia says it is not giving up the title to private property in and around Kamloops without a fight.

The provincial government announced today it will vigorously oppose the First Nations Aboriginal rights and title claim filed in September by the Tk'emlups and Skeetchestn bands.

While the Tsilhqot'in decision in 2014 had wide-ranging impacts on aboriginal title and rights in Canada, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone says that did not involve private property.

"The Tsilhqot'in decision involved crown land, there was no component to that claim that involved any private property rights. That is what makes this claim quite a bit different from the Tsilhqot'in decision," said Stone, who added, "at the end of the day, we're going to make sure that the rights of property owners and the sanctity of private property is vigorously defended." 

Stone says many people may not realize the Tk'emlups and Skeetchestn claims encompass a huge part of the Kamloops area, including a lot of private property.

He adds it could be two years before the issue goes to court.

In the meantime, Stone says it will be business as usual for the Environmental Assessment Office, which is expected to receive the KGHM-Ajax application on Monday.

The Jacko Lake area where KGHM-Ajax is planning to build an open pit copper-gold mine is a central part of the First Nations claim.

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