The City of Victoria is throwing its support behind the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Tofino council, calling for a moratorium on mining exploration in Clayoquot Sound.
The Tla-o-qui-aht declared their territory off limits to mining activity after the provincial government issued a gold exploration permit to Vancouver-based Imperial Metals late last summer.
“If we were facing a similar issue here in Victoria that we felt was going to be harmful to economic development and other values, I would hope the DIstrict of Tofino and other municipalities in the province would support us,” said Coun. Ben Isitt, who put forward the motion at Thursday’s council meeting.
Coun. Geoff Young called Isitt’s argument simplistic and said resource development shouldn’t be universally opposed by unaffected councils.
“Recent experience over the last little while has persuaded me that sometimes other local governments make mistakes, and simply following them blindly can be an unwise course of action,” Young quipped.
The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has declared an area of the Tranquil Valley a Tribal Park, and is now developing a sustainable management plan as mining exploration continues, said Saya Masso, councillor and resource manager for the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
“We hope this raises awareness on this issue and that the provincial government will follow suit and respect our opposition to mining in our territory,” Masso said.
The Tla-o-qui-aht is being supported in its efforts by the Wilderness Committee, a non-profit advocacy that opposes wild land development and works to protect species.