Request for Proposals: Strategic Planning Services

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LANDS: Open Houses for Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project

Open Houses for Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project

February 6, 2024

IN BRIEF

  • Public Open Houses are coming up in CranbrookSparwood and online about the Crown Mountain Coking Coal project.
  • In addition, there will be Ktunaxa-only information sessions later this spring.
  • The Crown Mountain Project is proposed for Qukin ʔamakʔis (the Elk Valley), and it’s worth your attention.
  • Below is some background about it, and details about opportunities for Ktunaxanin̓tik to comment.
  • LINK: Regulatory Open Houses(External link)
  • LINK: Project Executive Summary(External link)
  • COMING SOON: Ktunaxa Engagement Session Details
  • SIGN UP for UPDATES: engage@ktunaxa.org(External link)

WHAT’S HAPPENING

You may start hearing more about the “Crown Mountain Coking Coal” Project in coming days.

This is a proposed “valley fill” coal mine that is proposed in Qukin ʔamakʔis, (the Elk Valley.)

The proponent is NWP Coal.

This Project proposal has been in development for a decade.

Ktunaxa Nation Leadership was made aware of the proposal in 2014.

Since that time, Ktunaxa Leadership, with support from Lands & Resources staff, have reviewed the proposed project to identify areas of concern and opportunities for Ktunaxa.

The Environmental Assessment (EA) documentation itself is a few thousand pages of information.

The EA covers a whole range of factors:

  • Where the Project would be
  • What kind of mining would occur
  • How the mined coal could be removed from the area
  • How values would be impacted: Water, wildlife, cultural sites, and cumulative effects and more
  • Which methods are proposed to protect those values or mitigate the impacts
  • Potential economic benefits and costs
  • and much more.

Now, NWP Coal(External link) has submitted its EA application to Provincial and Federal regulators, as is required.

It’s the first step in an engagement period where all members of the public can attend open houses with government regulators to learn about the proposal, and to comment.

For the general public, there is one-month period to engage, starting with open houses in Cranbrook, Sparwood, and online.

(Details are below.)

THE KTUNAXA COMMENT PERIOD IS LONGER

Good news:
For Ktunaxanin̓tik, the opportunity to learn about and comment on the project is longer than one month.

Ktunaxa Nation Council will conduct engagement sessions with Ktunaxanin̓tik to review keys aspects of the proposed project. Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it(External link) will also conduct engagement sessions with its members.

The feedback from these Ktunaxa-only engagement sessions will be worked into official responses that Ktunaxa Nation Council and Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it will send to regulators.

As well, regulators and the project proponent will have the opportunity to hear directly from Ktunaxanin̓tik during these additional engagements, and we’re hoping to arrange site visits for Ktunaxa later this spring.

These engagements are opportunities for Ktunaxa to have our voices heard, and to make a difference in how the project might proceed, or if it will proceed.

Because the EA is in its first stages, elements of the project design can be altered in response to our feedback.


WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?


1) Ktunaxanin̓tik Engagement Sessions: TBA

We’re planning Ktunaxa-only information sessions later this Spring, as soon as we can arrange them.

How can we contact you with the details of these sessions?

If you have signed up to be on the email list, we will send you the information.

If you haven’t signed up, please email engage@ktunaxa.org(External link)
with a request to be on the email list so we can add your contact details.

Thank you!

You can also call us at 250-489-2464, and ask for Brandy Craig.


2) February Open Houses: Public

Cranbrook
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

12:00 – 3:00 PM MST
Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort (209 Van Horne Street)

Sparwood
Wednesday, February 14, 2024

4:00 – 7:00 PM MST
Causeway Bay Hotel (102 Red Cedar Drive)


3) Virtual Information Session: Public

Wednesday, February 21, 2024
5:00 – 7:00 PM MST
Click here to register:
https://ca01web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eh5iJcv_T0GciYKxjtqfbA(External link)

CLICK HERE to see the details(External link)


PROJECT BRIEF…

NWP Coal Canada Limited is seeking a Mines Act permit, which would allow:

  • An average production capacity of approximately 2 million tonnes of coal per year from three open pits over 15 years
  • A disturbance of approximately 850 hectares
  • Employment of up to 500 during construction and 330 during operation

Full details of the Crown Mountain Coking Coal application can be found here(External link), in the Executive Summary document(External link). (121 pages)



Open House February 13

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Call for Caterer

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Consultation has a purpose, Nation says

November 1, 2023: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Consultation has a purpose, Nation says

And “No” is a valid outcome when it comes to projects in ʔamakʔis Ktunaxa

yaqan nuʔkiy (Where the Rock Stands [Creston, B.C.]): A recent court case filed by an American mining exploration company is trying to cut off Constitutionally required consultation with the Ktunaxa First Nation of yaqan nuʔkiy and the Ktunaxa Nation Council (KNC) and fast track a controversial new mining exploration project.

In a media release of October 16, 2023, Taranis Resources announced that it has filed a Petition with the B.C. Supreme Court regarding its Thor Project near Trout Lake in ʔamakʔis Ktunaxa, (Ktunaxa homelands).

Taranis is asking the Court to force the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (“EMLI”) to make a quick decision on its August 2022 application for a major exploration program north of Trout Lake, near Revelstoke, in the Ktunaxa Traditional District of miȼ̓qaqas ʔamakʔis (Land of the Chickadee). Taranis is also asking the Court to declare recent public statements by EMLI Minister Josie Osborne committing her Ministry to work with Indigenous Peoples as Aboriginal Title holders to be “contrary to law.”

yaqan nuʔkiy and the KNC first learned of the new exploration program in January, 2023.  After extensive review, major concerns were identified including impacts to archaeological values, ungulate winter range, old growth forests and species at risk including mountain caribou, grizzly bear, and whitebark pine.  There are also significant concerns around water quality and important fish species, including Gerrard rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout and kokanee.  Impacts to these important values translate to impacts to legally protected Ktunaxa rights.

yaqan nuʔkiy also identified that their traditional lands were under increasing development pressure without being provided any time for Ktunaxa people to develop a Ktunaxa-led vision and plan for the area.  This prompted yaqan nuʔkiy and the Lands and Resources Council of the KNC to send the Province ‘letters of non-support’ for the new exploration permit in March and April of 2023.  The Province responded in August, acknowledging those concerns and committing to further consultation. Only two months later, Taranis filed its court challenge.

“Consultation must include the possibility of denial, or it isn’t meaningful consultation,” said nasuʔkin Jason Louie of yaqan nuʔkiy. “And ‘No’ is a valid outcome of consultation.”

“It looks like Taranis wants to cut off our voice and ability to represent and protect our Indigenous title and rights. But the Crown has the duty to consult and, more important, the fiduciary duty to protect Aboriginal rights as per Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. Taranis’ desire to fast track this project can’t trump our Constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights. We are duty-bound to the Creator to ensure respectful stewardship of our homelands, and this is our focus.”

British Columbia has committed to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which requires the Province to respect Ktunaxa inherent governance authority and rights, and to seek free, prior and informed consent prior to the authorization of any use of lands and resources in ʔamakʔis Ktunaxa.

“The best way for British Columbia to ensure Ktunaxa rights are protected is to receive our free prior and informed consent, which in this case, has not been provided,” said Louie.

“We know that Treaty 8 Nations had to fight for years in court to finally force the Province to protect their rights from the cumulative degradation of industrial development;[1] we will not wait until things are so bad we can no longer use our lands. We are standing up now and saying we need time to plan and do things right.”

yaqan nuʔkiy disagrees that Taranis’s application has been subject to unreasonable delay.

“Ktunaxa have been stewards of our homelands for longer than 10,000 years. Colonization only happened in the last 200 years, but we have already lost so much,” said Louie. “Fourteen months in a permitting process doesn’t seem like a long time, and, in this case, matters of how many months isn’t our concern, because, yes, we are on-the-record as unsupportive. We do not consent. Our view is of the bigger picture, with the long-term health of our homelands.

“We are not an anti-mining Nation, but some areas should remain undeveloped or require time to heal. Proponents are guests within our homelands – those who respect us, who are willing to accept that not all projects are meant to be developed, and who are willing to work with us and obtain our free, prior and informed consent, are the ones we would classify as ‘good guests,’ who we are willing to host.  Proponents who do not meet these expectations will have challenges.”

Louie said he and his leadership council, along with the rest of the Ktunaxa First Nations, will watch any developments in regards to the judicial review with interest, “But, when reviewing the company’s requests of the Supreme Court, we would say that, even if the Court issued the declaration the proponent wants, it would still not create a necessity for an eventual permitting decision to be in favour of exploration or development.  The Province must still address and protect our title and rights.”

–30–

[1] Yahey v. BC 2021 BCSC 1287

For more information, contact:
nasuʔkin Jason Louie

yaqan nuʔkiy ~ Lower Kootenay Band
Email via council@lowerkootenay.com

About yaqan nuʔkiy
Historically and since time immemorial, the Lower Kootenay Band, locally known as yaqan nuʔkiy, have remained the original inhabitants of the Lower Kootenay area. The name Yaqan Nukiy literally means “where the rock stands” and refers to an important place in the Creston Valley. lowerkootenay.com

About the Ktunaxa Nation Council

The Ktunaxa Nation Council is comprised of elected officials from ʔakisq̓nuk First Nation, yaqan nuʔkiy (Lower Kootenay Band), ʔaqam (St. Mary’s Band) and Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqiʾit (Tobacco Plains Band) First Nation Communities. www.ktunaxa.org



Ktunaxa Nation calls for meeting with Canada and U.S. to address watershed pollution

The Ktunaxa Nation calls for the U.S. and Canada to meet with the Nation immediately to address watershed pollution

Trudeau and Biden Strike Out, Missing Both the End-of-Summer Deadline and the Commitment to Work in Partnership with the Transboundary Ktunaxa Nation to Address Mining Pollution in the Kootenai/y Watershed

For Immediate Release:  October 18, 2023

The United States and Canada have failed to meet their summer deadline to reach an agreement in partnership with the Ktunaxa on how to address pollution in the Elk and Kootenai/y rivers, demonstrating the federal governments’ continued lack of commitment to address this serious pollution problem.

Ktunaxa leadership have been urging Canada and the U.S. to address water quality pollution in Ktunaxa homelands for over a decade.  In March of this year, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden publicly committed to “reach an agreement in principle by this summer to reduce and mitigate the impacts of water pollution in the Elk-Kootenai watershed in partnership with Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples, in order to protect the people and species that depend on this vital river system.” (Full statement available here.)

Yet, the end of summer has come and gone without any agreement, or any real progress, in working together. This, despite numerous opportunities and ample time for all eight governments to meet, including at the federal bilateral meeting in April, the Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) transboundary mining conference in September, and even the federal bilateral meeting happening this week in Ottawa.

Ktunaxa were initially encouraged by President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau’s March commitment which acknowledged the need for a solution—developed and implemented in partnership with the Ktunaxa—for the Elk-Kootenai watershed.  Yet this initial encouragement faltered as engagement with the federal governments—particularly Canada—following the statement’s release was nearly nonexistent, and a far cry from a “partnership.”  The lack of engagement and collaboration led Ktunaxa leadership to convene in June to pen their own solution which was sent to federal governments in mid-July.

The Ktunaxa proposal includes a reference to the International Joint Commission (IJC), along with a Ktunaxa-Federal action plan.  This “two-pronged approach” is based on (1) the need for an IJC-established Watershed Board to conduct an independent, transparent, and accountable scientific assessment of pollution in the watershed and perform ongoing monitoring, and (2) the parallel need for a governance plan that guarantees both federal governments and all six Ktunaxa governments an equal seat at the table to immediately begin to implement solutions, restore the waters, and ensure effective regulation and management of the watershed going forward.  The Ktunaxa proposal aims to bridge the draft IJC reference put forward by the U.S. and the call for a governance table from Canada. 

Yet, despite the fact that Canada has had proposals for an IJC reference from the Ktunaxa Nation, the U.S., and even British Columbia since mid-July, Ktunaxa did not receive even an acknowledgment of the proposal from Canada until September 21—one day before the end-of-summer deadline.

“We were encouraged that the U.S. and Canada committed to reaching an agreement—in partnership with the Ktunaxa—on the damaging pollution in the Kootenai/y watershed by this summer, and we were even more encouraged when British Columbia—a long holdout—indicated their support for an IJC reference in July,” said Tom McDonald, Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

“With B.C. on board, we now have all crucial governments in support of an IJC reference, except for Canada. We simply can’t understand what is holding Canada back and keeping them from honoring their promises to Indigenous peoples, the environment, and the International Boundary Waters Treaty,” McDonald continued.

Remarks made at a conference at the end of September by a Global Affairs Canada representative that “Canada knows that they are late with their homework” have spurred Ktunaxa Leadership to initiate a government-to-government-to-government meeting to be set in November.

“There has not been a single multi-government meeting to discuss solutions,” Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese said.

“While the United States has met regularly with the staff of the full transboundary Ktunaxa Nation, Canada has not done the same. And, there haven’t been any meetings between the U.S., Canada, and the Ktunaxa Nation all together, despite our repeated requests and numerous opportunities and ample time for that to occur.”

The Ktunaxa Nation invites Canada and the United States to immediately make good on their promise and meet with the governments of ʔakisq̓nuk; ʔaq̓am; Yaqan Nuʔkiy; Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡiʔit; Kupawiȼq̓nuk [Ksanka Band, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes]; and ʔaq̓anqmi [Kootenai Tribe of Idaho] and are initiating a meeting in the coming weeks.

“We must come to a solution before the end of the year — we were strung along in 2022, and then again in 2023 with a target of end of summer.  The governments need to show that their deadlines, and their intent to meet them, are meaningful.  We cannot accept any more broken promises.  We have been asking for action on this issue for more than a decade, and we can’t wait any longer,” said ʔaq̓anqmi Vice-Chairman Gary Aitken, Jr.

“We thought the commitment to work in partnership with the Ktunaxa Nation meant that all eight governments would sit down together to reach an agreement, but nothing could be further from the truth. Since the U.S. and Canada are not able to set up a process for reaching agreement, the Nation has no choice but to set one up so that we can actually address the devastating pollution in the Kootenai/y watershed.”

 

-30-

Press Contacts

Gwen Lankford, Executive Communications Team, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, gwen.lankford@cskt.org

Trish Barnes, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, Ktunaxa Nation Council,
Contact via info@ktunaxa.org

 



2023 Ktunaxa Literacy Day



AGM for Seven Nations Soaring Eagle Treatment Centre

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Welcoming, Celebrating and Remembering



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