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First Nations against Walterdale Bridge project
Chandra Lye, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, December 29, 2012 4:13PM MST
Last Updated Saturday, December 29, 2012 6:30PM MST
First Nations protestors have called the City of Edmonton’s Walterdale Bridge project illegal.
The comments were made by one of the Idle No More fire ceremony organizers, Duane Goodstriker.
“We have to go through a real consultation process regarding the expansion of the Walterdale Bridge,” he said.
“It has not been legal in its process so far.”
However, the director of special projects for the City said many groups across Alberta have been consulted.
“We’ve consulted with 21 First Nations groups throughout the province,” Byron Nicholson told CTV News.
“We’re very aware of the historic nature of the site.”
The dispute is over a site on the north side of the bridge known as the Fort Edmonton Cemetery & Traditional Burial Grounds.
“During the concept phase that was one of the big challenges. They had to look at all the different alternatives as far as where to build a new bridge,” Nicholson explained.
“We’re impacting the least amount of land on that side.”
He also said there would be an archaeologist on site during the construction and there was a clear procedure in place if anything should be found.
Yet Goodstriker said there will be further protests regarding the project.
“I may put up a teepee. I may have other people put up teepees here to state the case,” he said.
“We have not consented to the Walterdale bridge expansion.
“We’ve gone through this before with this burial ground,” he added.
“We’ve fought for it. It’s recognition. It’s protection.”
Preliminary work is expected to begin in January with a public consultation held on February 7.
The project has been estimated to cost $130 million and construction will begin in April, Nicholson said.
It is expected to be completed in 2015.
For more information on the project click here.
With files from Amanda Anderson
Some First Nations protestors are concerned the Walterdale Bridge project may disrupt ancient burial grounds in the area.