Ervin Charleyboy, a former Tsilqot’in National Government tribal chair and former Alexis Creek Indian Band chief, says he is in favour of working with Taseko on its New Prosperty Mine project if the project is environmentally safe.
Charleyboy made the statement Tuesday after the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency said it would embark on a panel review for the revised mine project that was rejected in Nov. 2010.
“If it’s (the project) going to be environmentally safe I think we should be talking to them,” he said, adding his concern was for the next generation of youth.
“We’ve got nothing right now and we’re trying to count on the forest industry but there’s hardly any forest left for us. What are we going to do when we run out of forest and we’ve got nothing.”
Charleyboy was opposed to the Prosperity project that was rejected last year due its plan to drain Fish Lake. He admits he has few specifics about the new proposal but nevertheless feels it would be worthwhile to “get together and sit down and see where this thing is going.”
“If we use propaganda instead of sitting and talking with each other it’s not going to go anywhere,” he said.
When contacted for comment Wednesday, TNG tribal chair Joe Ålphonse said if that was Charleyboy’s position he is “shocked” by it. He said the time to talk to Taseko about the project was after the last decision came down, not now. He disputed Charleyboy’s claim of a lack of opportunity in the forest industry going forward.
“My community here we have lots of employment as a result of different forestry initiatives. We are working with other mining industry in the area,” he said.
Alphonse added Charleyboy’s position was not reflective of that of the Tsilqot’in people.