'I'm scared:' Snuneymuxw shares grave concerns about Trans Mountain pipeline

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
December 5, 2018 - 6:11pm

Elder Gary Manson leading a delegation from Snuneymuxw First Nation into their hearing with the National Energy Board.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

SFN chief Mike Wyse presenting a gift to the three-panel members of the National Energy Board hearing. Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Snuneymuxw First Nation have thrown their voice behind a push against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Elders Geraldine and Gary Manson spoke on Wednesday to the National Energy Board, who's consulting Indigenous bands about the pipeline. The hearing is part of an ongoing environmental review, in response to the Federal Court of Appeal rejecting the pipeline expansion over a lack of Indigenous consultation.

Gary Manson told the three-member panel he couldn't fathom what Snuneymuxw's world would look like if there was a major spill or the projected increase to shipping through the Salish Sea deciminated the killer whale population.

“I'd carry the sadness to my grave,” he said. “It would be like losing my children, it would be that difficult and unimaginable.”

At many times, both Elders became emotional and could barely answer questions about the impact of a possible spill.

Geraldine Manson said the killer whale is central to Snuneymuxw First Nation's culture and history and losing more of the killer whale population would be “like losing language. It's removing something that's part of us.”

All hearings about the reconsideration of the project must be complete by late February, 2019.


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