First Nations groups obstruct biosolids truck access to ranch in Turtle Valley

Application of treated sewage sludge mixed with soil on the ranch has been contentious

Protesters are turning away trucks carrying biosolids to the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch.

Groups calling themselves Secwepmc Elders Sacred Fire and Women’s Sacred Fire Council have set up to stop Arrow Transport Inc. trucks from delivering the treated sewage to the ranch.

The protest groups are located in the same spot that was vacated by another group of protesters in May after Arrow acquired a court injunction.

Spokesperson Miranda Dick says the groups currently turning away trucks at the intersection of English Road and Squilax Turtle Valley Road represent the Secwepmc nation, and that they are acting on behalf of future generations. She said the group has turned away biosolids-bearing trucks and received a visit from an Arrow representative and the RCMP.

Cpl. Scott Linklater of the Chase RCMP said officers from the detachment visited the site of the protest to asses what was going on but took no action.

Local traffic for residents of English Road is not being stopped.

Read More: Turtle Valley Bison Ranch owners speak on biosolids controversy

Read More: Injunction bid from opponents of Turtle Valley biosolids project rejected

Dick said consultation with the public and local First Nations on the project was inadequate. She added she wants tests of the biosolids to be conducted and their results made public.

“How do they know it is safe to be near our water,” Dick said.

The biosolids, which are treated sewage sludge, originate from the City of Kamloops’ sewage treatment facility. According to the city’s website, there is currently a 23,000 tonnes stockpiled and awaiting delivery.

At the root of the issue is the application of a biosolids and soil mixture to a logged slope on the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch property near Chase. Opponents have called the plan a toxic waste dump, while the ranch’s owners told the Observer in May that they are satisfied with the environmental safety of the project following an assessment by a professional agrologist.

Read More: First Nations group takes up biosolids protest

Read More: Court decision allows biosolids trucks to roll into Turtle Valley

In early June, Justice Dev Dley ruled against an injunction intended to put a stop to the biosolids project, stating the group of Turtle Valley Residents waging a court battle against Arrow failed to prove traffic, odour and health risks as a result of the project.

For her part, Dick said the protesters blocking English Road will not be easily convinced to abandon their blockade.

“We’re still stating there has been no consultation and there is no consent,” she said.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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