In-SHUCK-ch cut off by high water 

Logging road floods for second time this year, chief negotiator calls for improvements

click to enlarge High waters A pick up truck tries to make it through high waters on the In-SHUCK-ch Forest Services Road. Photo by Sylvia Shanoss.
  • High waters A pick up truck tries to make it through high waters on the In-SHUCK-ch Forest Services Road. Photo by Sylvia Shanoss.

Extensive flooding has closed the In-SHUCK-ch Forest Services Road (FSR) for the second time this year, leaving many residents of the First Nations community stranded and complicating funeral arrangements for a local elder.

Gerard Peters, In-SHUCK-ch chief negotiator, said it is always an issue when the road is impassable, but it is particularly troubling this time.

“One of the elders in my community has just passed away. The thing is we’ve got to get him home, and it’s causing all kinds of concern among the community, especially among the elders, that we can’t take care of our dead.”

Logging companies use the FSR to haul timber, and approximately 250 members of the In-SHUCK-ch Nation live along the road, which parallels Lillooet Lake and runs south to Harrison Lake.

Peters said he has been trying to call attention to the poor condition of the FSR for years now, but it is now time for change.

At a Tuesday meeting with provincial and federal chief negotiators, Peters officially identified the FSR as a treaty issue.

“…The roads and its needs for improvement must now be addressed in the context of treaty negotiations, because I’m not getting any movement anywhere else,” Peters said.

He said local government has done all they can to deal with the intermittent road closures, and now it’s time higher levels of government got involved.

“I think that it’s necessary for Canada to step up to the plate, as well as B.C., to ensure safe travel,” said Peters.

“Canada has a fiduciary responsibility for looking after the interests of Indians.”

Samahquam Chief Keith Smith has lived off the In-SHUCK-ch Forest Services Road, in the Baptiste Smith region, for most of his life. Smith said the severity of flooding varies from year to year, but this year, higher snow pack and recent hot temperatures have caused water levels to rise rapidly.

He managed to travel the road Monday morning, leaving the community at 6 a.m., about three hours before the road was officially closed.

“I have a four wheel drive, so I was relatively high enough,” said Smith. “It still came over my bumper.”

Readers also liked…

Interactive Map

Today's COVID-19 cases in Canada

Click each province to see the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths, recovered patients, and tests administered...more.

Latest in Whistler

More by Holly Fraughton

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation