South Delta [British Columbia] Leader, March 2, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: Indigenous people of the Tsawwassen First Nation in British Columbia, Canada, are opposing a high-voltage power line, basing their legal argument on the precautionarty principle. Their case will be heard in court later this month.]

By Philip Raphael, South Delta Leader praphael@southdeltaleader

With an increase in political momentum to help safeguard the environment, Tsawwassen [First Nation] residents opposed to local power line upgrades feel confident about their upcoming court appeal.

Maureen Boradfoot, spokesperson for Tsawwassen Residents Against Higher Voltage Overhead Lines [TRAHVOL], said recent federal funding to help provide shore-based power for ships, and B.C.'s [British Columbia, Canada] commitment to become more "green" could have an affect on their case which is scheduled to be heard in B.C. Court of Appeal March 26 and 27.

"You can never predict with any great certainty what the outcome of a court case will be, but we are confident our appeal will have a favourable ruling," Broadfoot said.

A particular reason to be optimistic was the recent inclusion of TRAHVOL's appeal based on the precautionary principle which maintains that in the absence of scientific agreement that something may be of harm to human health, that prudent avoidance or a precautionary approach should be taken, Broadfoot said.

Residents fear the electro magnetic fields from the lines contribute to incidents of cancer, especially leukemia in children. That contention is hotly debated among environmental and power utility advocates.

"Hopefully the court will rule that Crown Corporations cannot run roughshod over communities," Broadfoot said, adding TRAHVOL would like to see the lines diverted along an industrial corridor serving the Deltaport container ship facility.

TRAHVOL is also appealing B.C. Transmission Corporation's power line plan on the basis the upgrade -- which is being undertaken to serve increasing demands from customers on Vancouver Island -- represents a significant change in use along a 50-plus-year-old BC Hydro right-of- way which cuts across roughly 147 homes, churches, schools, daycares and commercial properties.

Copyright Copyright 2007 South Delta Leader