Cache Creek chicken blockade

Click here for the Cache Creek Landfill Song, a backgrounder on avian flu, and more materials

Dateline: 6:00 PM, Friday, April 16, 2004

Meeting with Minister van Dongen in Abbotsford went reasonably well. Minister states that disposing of birds in landfill is the last option that will be resorted to under the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) management of the diseased bird crisis.

Composting in farm’s barns is the preferred method of disposal. On the same proerty is second, and centralized composting is third.

If a decision is made to resort to landfill disposal van Dongen commits to holding another meeting similar to today’s, in advance of taking action.

Chief Retasket advises that in the context of that commitment, a rally will be held at the Cache Creek Landfill blockade tomorrow, Saturday, morning, and then the blockade will likely be disbanded.

Dateline: 11:00 AM, Friday, April 16, 2004

ABBOTSFORD: A small group maintained the blockade over the night.

Agriculture Minister van Dongen is looking for incineration options, but maintains that the Cache Creek Landfill may be used for disposal of the diseased carcasses.

Van Dongen is chairing a meeting with provincial and federal politicians, First Nations leaders, and health officials this morning.

More than a dozen mayors will raise concerns. These will include the Cache Creek landfill.

The disease continues to expand, moving well west of Abbotsford to a farm in Cloverdale, in Surrey

Checkpoints have been set up at Hope and B.C. ferry terminals.

Dateline: 10:15 AM, Thursday, April 15, 2004

CACHE CREEK: Chief Mike Retasket called to say the blockade continued through the night, and spirits were high this morning.

Ashcroft Mayor Andy Kormandy, who has been away, visited the blockade immediately on his return – showing up at 4 in the morning, and bolstering the spirits of the group who spent the night.

Agriculture Minister John van Dongen says the avian flu “problem is not under control, and the biggest problem we have is to move dead birds”. A meeting Friday with mayors of some 15 communities, and leaders of First Nations, may result in a decision.

The blockade will stay in place until there is certainty that no disease birds will be disposed of in the Cache Creek landfill.

Years ago, when the Cache Creek landfill was first being proposed, and was first being campaigned against, this song was sung on the protest line.

Dateline: 7:15 PM, Wednesday, April 14, 2004

CACHE CREEK: BC’s Minister of Agriculture, John van Dongen, just called Chief Mike Retasket of the Bonaparte Indian Band (also Dogwood Initiative’s Vice-President) and assured him that no contaminated chicken carcasses will be dumped in the Cache Creek Landfill.

Minister van Dongen invited representatives from the First Nations and the nearby communities to a meeting scheduled to be held at the Ramada Inn in Abbotsford on April 16.

Chief Retasket reiterated to the Minister that that no diseased chicken waste will ever be allowed to dumped at the site.

Currently about 10 people, mostly First Nations, are manning the blockade. Support from local residents remains strong.

The actions by First Nations are part of growing days of action called for by the Title & Rights Alliance.

Dateline: 9:30 am, Wednesday, April 14, 2004

CACHE CREEK: About 15 people are at the blockade at Cache Creek Landfill, with 10 to 15 coming and going all night. Spirits are high. Commitment is unmoved: no infected chickens are going into the landfill.

Local First Nations, local municipal government, landowners and concerned citizens are determined that none of the chickens killed as part of the control program for avian flu virus, will cross the blockade for disposal in the landfill.

Mike Restasket, Chief of the Bonaparte Indian Band, says “We’re not playing games. We are going to protect the health of our community.”

No birds have arrived at the landfill as of Wednesday morning. John van Dongen, BC’s Minister of Agriculture, has made the commitment that he will give John Ranta, Mayor of Cache Creek, 24 hours notice before the birds arrive. Mayor Ranta has in turn said he would advise the blockade promptly.

Wastech, operators of the landfill, and Bobell Trucking, have been accommodating. Local restaurants and services have been very helpful and generous.

More Cache Creek material

Trash is our goldmine: the Cache Creek Landfill Song

Backgrounder on avian flu from the CBC

Other Dogwood Initiative bulletins on this story:
April 13, 2004

News stories: Vancouver Sun, April 15, 2004
Vancouver Sun, April 14, 2004
Canadian Press, April 13, 2004
Kamloops Daily News, April 12, 2004

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