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Gunshots fired at Sun Peaks



Bullet hits truck at construction site

Tensions are mounting at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops after a truck driver reported hearing four gunshots near a construction site.

The driver said he was piloting his vehicle towards the resort's new golf course the morning of Sept. 13 when he heard the blasts.

The driver said one bullet hit one of the truck's rear tires. Another bullet mark was also discovered on the fender.

Kamloops RCMP attended the scene and have confirmed the shooting but are refusing to speculate who is responsible.

The resort has been subject to protests and roadblocks by members of the Secwepewc First Nation and the Native Youth Movement.

"We have no evidence to link this to the protesters," RCMP Sgt. Randy Brown told a Kamloops newspaper.

According to Brown, a group of RCMP constables searched the area with a canine unit and talked to native protesters at a nearby protest camp, who denied any knowledge of the shooting.

Construction crews went back to work shortly after the incident.

The native groups oppose the resort's $70-million expansion, which includes the golf course, a hotel and conference centre, a townhome complex, chairlifts and the development of new ski terrain.

The last incident at Sun Peaks was an Aug. 24 roadblock that halted traffic for three hours, stopping tourists, residents and workers from making their way to the resort village.

The blockade was taken down when the RCMP threatened to arrest the protestors.

Four native activists were arrested July 23 at Sun Peaks in another incident. Their protest camp, which had been there since last fall, was also dismantled after resort management had been granted a court injunction to remove the natives.

The Secwepewc claim Sun Peaks is located within their traditional territories and say the area – which they call Skwelkwek’welt – has been used for traditional hunting, gathering and spiritual practices for thousands of years.

They also insist the resort is on land that was marked out as a reserve in 1862.

Sun Peaks Resort leased Crown land for the resort expansion from the provincial government in the early 1990s.

Earlier this summer, B.C.’s First Nations Summit "war council" – made up of band chiefs from across the province – threatened to blockade highways, railways and waterways if the provincial government goes ahead with a proposed referendum on treaty negotiations.

The natives hope protests and roadblocks will create economic uncertainty and pressure government into resolving land claims.

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