Jurisdiction Questions Continue Over Mills on First Nations Land
Burns Lake mill that exploded in January may have "fallen between the cracks"
The director of Protective Services in Burns Lake says there needs to be a clearer picture of who has jurisdiction over sawmills on First Nations reserve land in B-C.
Jim McBride, who's also the Burns Lake Fire Chief, was commenting on a report this week in the Vancouver Sun, that said the Babine Forest Products sawmill east of the village had not been inspected under either the federal or provincial safety code for years -- or perhaps ever -- since there was confusion over whose jurisdiction it was under. The mill, located on native reserve, exploded and burned in January, killing two men.
"I'm uncertain as to whose jurisdiction it falls under," said McBride, adding "I can tell you that it does not fall under my jurisdiction -- my jurisdiction surrounds this municipality on a 10-kilometre radius from our fire hall."
Martin says one of the reasons mills are constructed in areas like this is to avoid paying municipal taxes.
The United Steelworkers Union, which represents millworkers, says there needs to be clear guidelines about who is responsible for fire and safety inspections.
[reported by Sarah Komadina]