Recent History – 2001-2003
August 29, 2002
KELLY LAKE — Although concerns about safety remain outstanding, a group of Metis people voluntarily removed their roadblock Wednesday evening.
“We urge the provincial government to immediately enter into negotiations with us for a permanent resolution to the problem of speeding and overweight vehicles and the condition of the road,” said Kurtis DeSilva, reading a statement from the Kelly Lake Metis Settlement Society and Metis Nation in British Columbia.
“We do this as a gesture of good faith and good will towards the government with whom we are having a dispute on this and many other issues.”
The roadblock was set up to prevent large commercial vehicles from passing along a stretch of road that connects B.C. and Alberta but also runs through the small community south of Dawson Creek. In all, about a half-dozen large commercial vehicles were turned around over the two-and-a-half days it was up.
“Almost all of the drivers, when given an explanation as to why we were taking these steps, appeared to agree with us, and many wished us well,” said DeSilva, who added that two portable toilets were even donated by a local firm.
The roadblock was taken down as an act of good faith, said DeSilva.
“If our negotiations with the government do not bring about a solution, then we may have to reconsider our position, because the safety and health of our residents is the most important thing,” he said.
Safety is not the only concern. It’s also being claimed that the road passes through private property owned by Caroline Campbell, thus giving her the right to close the road. Lawyers are currently researching that issue, DeSilva said.
Meanwhile, road block organizers are calling on oil and gas companies operating in the area to voluntarily re-route all vehicles over five-tons away from the community.