British Columbia

Site C dam protest joined by David Suzuki

Environmental campaigner David Suzuki is throwing his support behind First Nations protesting the construction of the $9-billion Site C dam in northeastern B.C.

Members of Treaty 8 First Nations have been camped out in the Peace Valley since New Year's Eve

David Suzuki, third from the right, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, centre, joined protesters at the Site C protest camp at Rocky Mountain Fort on Monday. (Yvonne Tupper/Facebook)

Environmental campaigner David Suzuki is throwing his support behind First Nations protesting the construction of the $9-billion Site C dam in northeastern British Columbia.

Suzuki and the grand chief of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, Stewart Phillip, travelled to the remote Rocky Mountain Fort Camp in the Peace Valley on Tuesday morning.

He says he made the trip to thank the protestors for continuing the fight against the dam. 

"I wanted to go and thank them ... because I was one of many, many people 30 years ago that was opposing the dam at Site C — exactly the same dam and we won that one," he said. 

"So I can't figure out what the hell — we already had this battle before and we're having it again."

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, is joining David Suzuki at the Site C dam protest. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Meanwhile, Grand Chief Phillip says he is infuriated by what he called a "provocative and aggressive approach" from BC Hydro and the province.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that BC Hydro is relentlessly clear-cutting forests right now to prepare for the flooding of the Peace River Valley, which will destroy archaeological sites and eradicate prime farmland," said Phillip.

"The proposed Site C project will irreparably harm and adversely impact the environment and the Treaty 8 First Nations and all residents whose lives are entwined with the health of the land and waters."

Members of Treaty 8 First Nations have been camped out at the historical Fort site near Hudson's Hope in a peaceful demonstration against Site C since New Year's Eve.

They are hoping to stop BC Hydro contractors from clearing old growth forest to make way for work on the dam and are asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene to stop the hydroelectric project.

Phillip and Suzuki planned to stay at the camp until 1 p.m. PT.

Controversy rumbles on

The dam, the third on the Peace River, will create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir and flood the area where the protesters are camping.

It's long been controversial in the region and is fiercely opposed in some quarters, prompting legal challenges by several groups concerned about the impact a new lake created by the dam will have on the Peace River area.

Protester Yvonne Tupper posts no trespassing signs declaring this Treaty 8 land at the BC Hydro construction site near the First Nations protest camp. (Yvonne Tupper/Facebook)

The BC Hydro and Power Authority has already issued an eviction notice, warning protesters that all contents of the camp set up on Dec. 31 will be removed and delivered to the RCMP.

Meanwhile, RCMP said they arrested three protesters on Wednesday who had been blocking an access road in the area.

Suzuki, who was at the camp Tuesday, said the daily police checks amounted to "a form of harassment."

Site C spokesman David Conway previously said the protest is only affecting a small clearing area, but all other construction work on the project continues. Contractors had been prepared to log the area where protesters are camped.

With files from On The Coast