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General · 14th February 2010
Frank Assu
February 13, 2010

I have to respond to the enormous amount of “NIMBY” attitudes displayed against the We Wai Kai proposed development and expansion of their scallop farm.

I am not against people having opinions on what they view or feel is best for their communities, but let’s look at this from a different angle. There have been a few articles and letters referring to Paddy’s Lagoon as well as Rebecca Spit as a place to cherish and enjoy. But how do people get there? They have to cross the land which is owned by the We Wai Kai First Nation.

For years people have been parking along the main road and walking through the campsite grounds all year long. It is not only people but their dogs and horses that cross through there. Is there not a fence there? Yes, and it was put up to keep trespassers out, but many of you still park and ignore the signs/fence and walk around to get to the campground paths. Why? Because it is a nice walking path that can extend a person(s) walk that day, is this right? So what if I wanted to come to your area of the island for a walk but had to go through your property to get to the beach on the other side, would you let me cross day after day, parking on your land and leaving my horse and dog feces? I would safely say you would call the police to charge me with trespassing or worse. Has this been done to the people who trespass through the Campsite? NO, but it could happen.

I am not saying the band would do this but the rules are there for it to happen. I do not want this to happen. I just want more respect from the Quadra Island people who now are saying the Band is ruining their precious park. Must you be reminded that before the white settlers came to Quadra Island the We Wai Kai people were already here and using the lands, lands that were taken away and reduced. If people truly want to preserve their parks and lands they must also respect the lands and rights that surround their park. Do not park on the road and trespass to get a longer walk, respect all people not just your own personal agendas, what would happen if a non-native development happened elsewhere on the island and the Band protested that? There would be an even bigger outcry from the island. This is another example of a larger group trying to suppress a minority, is that right?

So before people get carried away with stopping a development by a minority group, maybe they should look at what they can do to build better relationships with the Band and its members, because if the people who protest are the same people who are trespassing then they are hypocrites. Can we not put past these petty arguments that can seem racial on the surface? I would certainly hope so. For an island that claims to be very supportive and ecologically minded there are a lot of resentment and negative attitudes that go beyond just protecting the park.

I hope everybody looks into themselves and sees that everybody or group deserves to have the right to create a better future for themselves, and not be oppressed. To me this is similar to the prior oppression of First Nations people that happened many years ago, legislated by the government. Is history repeating itself with a different player?