By Cindy Filipenko
As the deadline draws closer for the N’Quatqua chief and council to take the issue of logging CP16 to referendum, protestors have applied more pressure.
A letter from the Voices for the Old Growth Alliance, also signed by “Concerned members of N’Quatqua”, asks for clarification and documentation pertaining to the band-owned N’Quatqua Logging Company.
This summer’s court case itself is at issue. The Voices group wants to know why the logging company, which is owned by the N’Quatqua First Nations Society, initiated court action against band members without consulting all members of the society. Voices people are also requesting a full accounting of the $100,000 Chief Harry O’Donaghey and council allege the court case cost the band. In addition to being chief, O’Donaghey is sole shareholder of the band’s logging company.
Another cause of disagreement is the auctioning off of the logging company’s logging equipment, which Voices alleges was done without notification or consultation with band members.
Other allegations of financial mismanagement stem from the N’Quatqua First Nations Society waiving of more than $150,000 in management fees from the logging company.
The Voices alliance is also demanding the past four years of minutes from the NFNS meetings and AGMs, a draft report from the Forest Practice Board Investigation on CP 16 Mule Deer Winter Range and copies of all minutes of meetings between the N’Quatqua government and BCR Logging.
The deadline for chief and council to respond is Sept. 15.
In their closing remarks, the Voices alliance states, “We are deeply disturbed by our forestry consultant Bernice Patterson, our band manager, and our chief and council who have misinformed and lied to the People of N’Quatqua Community, both at our band meetings and in the affidavits sworn under oath to the court regarding consequences of not harvesting CP16.”
Earlier in the conflict, chief and council had told band members that they would be liable for any development debt incurred if the logging did not proceed. Voices claims this is not true and that there is no penalty to the N’Quatqua people. The protestors are calling for the resignation of the band manager, chief, council and forestry consultant.
In mid-July, the courts sided with the Voices alliance and placed an injunction against the logging of 85 ha above Anderson Lake until a referendum could decide the issue. The time frame for that community-wide vote to occur was 60 days from the decision.
Chief and council have since filed an appeal. A band office representative stated that the chief and council had no comment on the matter.