An aerial view of Fort McKay, Alta., Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. An Alberta First Nation is suing the province over development approvals that it says threaten sacred land the government has promised to protect. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

‘Last wilderness’: Alberta chief wants meeting on land approved for oilsands

For McKay First Nation is surrounded on three sides by oilsands development

The chief of a First Nation that has taken Alberta to court to protect its “last wilderness” wants to meet with Premier Jason Kenney to get him to honour the government’s promises.

“We’re confident that the new government is going to do right,” said Grand Chief Mel Grandjamb of the Fort McKay First Nation. “There were commitments to the community.”

The First Nation is surrounded on three sides by oilsands development. Mines come as close as four kilometres to the community.

The band has been negotiating for two decades with the province to protect Moose Lake, west of the townsite.

“We want to be able to smell the good air,” said Grandjamb.

“The water is good enough to drink right from the lake. We send hunting camps out there every year. We supply cabins to all our elders who want to go out there.

“This is our last wilderness.”

In 2018, the band thought it had a deal putting a 10-kilometre buffer around the lake. The deal was never ratified and, in June 2018, Alberta’s energy regulator approved a $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day oilsands mine that would come within two kilometres of the shore.

The First Nation is fighting that approval and arguments were heard this week in the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Grandjamb said the band has a five-year-old letter from former premier Jim Prentice endorsing the Moose Lake plan. The chief said it’s time Kenney lived up to the government’s promises — and his own.

“I’m very confident that he will get to the table,” said Grandjamb.

“(That’s) based on his public statements, based on his consultations with the chiefs of Alberta, based on my open discussion with him, based on his analysis that we have to work together to move Alberta forward.”

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Input wanted on ABP reorganizing proposal

Five-year review comes up with major revamp to cut costs

Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair coming to Red Deer College’s Cenovus Learning Commons

Central Albertans can connect with employers on Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sylvan Lake shoreline flags wrongfully replaced by well-meaning citizen

Al Cameron of VVOC says a loose thread is not enough to replace the Canadian flags on lakeshore

Rebels beat rival to win home tournament

Bashaw’s volleyball senior boys gold-en against Bawlf

Bashaw Community Theatre presents Matilda – the Musical

Opening night set for Nov. 14 with additional shows running through to Nov. 24

‘Pick a lane:’ Alberta premier fires back at Bloc Quebecois leader

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reacts to comments by Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Small group of Cherry fans protest his firing at Rogers HQ

One sign at the Toronto rally: ‘Rogers cancels Don, we cancel Rogers’

Ideas for Alberta independence would increase costs, Nenshi says

Province has formed panel to examine how to get what a ‘fairer deal’ from Confederation

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Imperial CEO says no to Aspen oilsands project until Alberta oil quotas gone

Imperial confirmed a plan to boost production from its Kearl oilsands mine

Three men charged after ‘targeted’ shooting, evacuation at Alberta mall

The accused, who range in age from 25 to 37, were arrested Sunday and remain in custody

Most Read