Ivey Lake subdivision could be blocked 

Lil'wat Nation says site has 'high archaeological potential'

A proposed development in Area C of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District could encroach on a Lil'wat archaeological site, documents submitted to the SLRD board indicate.

The SLRD is considering amending two bylaws that, if approved, would subdivide properties at 1855 and 1859 Reid Road near Ivey Lake to allow two parcels of about one hectare each at both addresses. Each would have to be rezoned from Rural 1 to Rural 1 Residential, allowing houses to be put up on the subdivided properties.

Regional director and Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy said it's likely that the owner has excess land and wants to sell off a portion of it.

"Over the years there's been many people who have subdivided their property on Reid Road into one hectare parcels," he said. "I believe the original subdivision was in five-acre parcels and maybe a couple of tens.... Over the last 20 years, some of those parcels had been further subdivided into two-and-a-half acre parcels."

The move would encroach on an area that the Lil'wat Nation has identified as having "high archaeological potential," said a document detailing a "request for decision" from the board.

In two separate letters to district planners dated Feb. 17, Lil'wat Land and Resources Director Lucinda Phillips writes that both properties lie within 1 km of a registered archaeological site. She goes on in her letter to say that the area near 1855 Reid Road has a house pit and five "cache pits," literally places to store food in the winter.

Phillips also notes that the area near 1859 Reid Road is a traditional gathering place for cherry bark harvesting, a practice that involves stripping bark off trees to be used as material in basket weaving and other items.

Phillips is requesting that an archaeological study be done on the property before putting forward the subdivisions - a study that could cost $2,000, but isn't required of the rezoning process. B.C.'s Heritage Conservation Act merely requires the regional district to notify the landowner of any potential for archaeological sites.

As part of the rezoning process, Lil'wat Nation staff provided the district with 1997 Squamish Forest District archaeological data that showed both sites within about a kilometre of the property.

Lil'wat staff also noted that the property falls within a buffer on the Birkenhead River that could contain a heritage trail, a historical path that, under the Heritage Conservation Act, could be deemed a provincial heritage site.

A district memo goes on to note that the Archaeology Branch of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts doesn't show any registered archaeological sites within proximity of the property and the ministry's mapping states that the property has "low or moderate" potential, despite what Lil'wat studies have said.

The memo does not recommend any further archaeological study of the site, saying that First Nations could have different ways of determining such potential and that they may have access to potential mapping that the province does not.

The district put the bylaws through second reading at its last meeting and will hold a public meeting on them at its board offices on June 10 at 7 p.m.

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