Supreme Court asked to protect Chemainus water for Halalt

The Halalt First Nation has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to look at a controversial plan by North Cowichan to pump water for Chemainus from the Chemainus River’s aquifers.

The move follows a November ruling by the B.C. Court of Appeal that granted the District of North Cowichan access to the water.

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The issues the Halalt plans to ask the high court to clarify are who owns the groundwater under the reserve and aboriginal lands and whether the Crown should consider aboriginal title in its consultation process.

Chief James Thomas said in a statement that letting the appeal court’s decision stand is not an option. “We take our role as river stewards very seriously,” he said.

“We must continue with this litigation until these issues are clearly settled.”

The Halalt are backed by various First Nations groups. — Times Colonist

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