Archeological sites discovered in path of Trans Mountain pipeline will be destroyed - InfoNews

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Archeological sites discovered in path of Trans Mountain pipeline will be destroyed

FILE PHOTO. Joanne Hammond found a spearhead on the Kamloops north shore that could be up to 9,000 years old, in March 2020.
Image Credit: TWITTER / Joanne Hammond
September 16, 2020 - 7:00 AM

As the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline moves steadily forward, it’s not a good time to be an archeologist in Kamloops.

A routine survey of the pipeline route uncovered 67 archaeological sites within a 80 km stretch, but a local archeologist said there’s little chance that any changes will be made to the project.

"I think it is highly unlikely that there will be any alteration to the plan,” archeologist Joanne Hammond said. "This pipeline is getting built."

As per industry standard in B.C., Trans Mountain submitted an application to alter the sites to be reviewed by First Nations groups with interest in the area.

Hammond said First Nation groups are able to provide comment as a part of the consultation process, but only on methods used in construction.

"It’s a very narrow kind of consultation,” she said. "In some cases, changes are made to the plan based on the comments that First Nations have, but in this case, I think that is almost impossible.”

With little hope of any delay or modification to the pipeline project, the clock is ticking for archeologists seeking to collect data from sites and remove the artifacts.

"There is all of the weight of the federal government and the province pushing to not have any more delays to this pipeline,” she said. "Everything I’ve seen indicates that they’re going to build that part of the pipeline this year."

Although finding 67 sites within an 80 km stretch of land is relatively unusual, it's not so out of the ordinary for Kamloops.

"Kamloops was one of the most important pre-contact hubs, and it’s been occupied by people for more than ten thousand years," she said.

"It’s not at all surprising that there’s that number of sites."

Hammond said that only the sites deemed significant enough to merit the additional work will be preserved, about 18 per cent.

The rest will be destroyed.

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