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

Viterra and Canadian Foodgrains Bank partner to help end world hunger

A total of 254 acres from Viterra terminals in the Alberta including Stettler were made available

Alberta RCMP caution citizens about signs of cybercrime

Police are reminding the public to be cautious while shopping online

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.

WATCH: Stettler residents gather to observe Remembrance Day

Hundreds gather at the Stettler Performing Arts Centre to pay tribute

A flower, a poem, a campaign

Nowadays, Remembrance Day includes all wars that have occurred since the Great War.

Premier vows to fight for oilpatch as drillers forecast almost no growth in 2020

The CAODC said it expects the Canadian drilling rig fleet to continue to shrink

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to meet with Trudeau today to discuss throne speech

Top ask will be for Liberal support for the immediate creation of a national universal pharmacare program

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

Most Read