Katzie First Nation has issued a response after the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada announced the federal government’s decision last week to not designate CP Logistics Park Expansion Project under the Impact Assessment Act.
Earlier this year, in July, the first nation had requested the CP’s project to expand into a 41-hectare logistics yard on farmland in Pitt Meadows, south of its existing intermodal facility, to be designated for a federal impact assessment. However, Steven Guilbeault, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, determined that the CP Logistics Park Expansion Project was not reviewable under the Impact Assessment Act.
“Katzie First Nation is extremely disappointed with the decision by the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change not to accept our request to designate the Canadian Pacific Logistics Park and Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvement Projects proposed by the CP Rail and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority in our territory under the federal Impact Assessment Act (IAA),” said Chief Grace George.
“This decision flies in the face of the federal government’s legal obligations under newly enacted Bill C-15, which requires Canada ‘take all measures necessary’ to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) under Canadian law and in consultation with Indigenous Nations.”
Katzie requested the assessment as they believed the project would further impact the Katzie slough.
“Our request was for a fair and acceptable review process to protect and restore what is left of our territory and culture in this area and was submitted with the support of 23 first nations in the Lower Fraser River. UNDRIP Article 32 requires Canada to work with our Nation in good faith to obtain our free and informed consent, prior to the approval of projects impacting our territory,” said George.
The minister’s decision to not designate the project under the IAA would now mean that the project would need to be assessed separately under many different pieces of fragmented legislation, according to the Katzie. The first nation is now calling upon the Canadian Transportation Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to show them how they will structure their assessment process to meet these requirements in consultation with Katzie. They are also calling upon the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and Canadian Pacific Railway to adopt the standards of UNDRIP in its engagement processes moving forward.
“Free, prior and informed consent is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from Katzie at the end of an assessment process designed and lead by Canada. Informed consent is an on-going relationship, which, at a bare minimum, requires that we have a meaningful say in how the assessment process for projects in our territory are structured. Moving forward without our free, prior and informed consent risks significant impacts on our territory, including Katzie Slough,” said George and the council.
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