Media Release: Historic Glenrose Cannery Being Demolished for SFPR Freeway

For Immediate Release
Monday July 11, 2011

Historic Glenrose Cannery Being Demolished for SFPR Freeway:
BC’s oldest burial site threatened

The historic Glenrose Cannery, on the Fraser River in North Delta, is now being demolished by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in conjunction with the Jim Pattison Group as part of preparations for building the controversial South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) freeway, part of the Gateway freeway expansion program. The cannery was built in 1896 and was the last working cannery in the Lower Mainland. It is the last remaining cannery on the Delta side of the Fraser River.

The provincial government originally claimed that no heritage properties would be impacted by the SFPR. Delta contested that claim and forced the province to do a heritage assessment, which found that 33 heritage properties in Delta alone would be impacted. But the Heritage Assessment did not mention the possibility of demolishing the Glenrose Cannery.

"The Glenrose Cannery is an important part of Delta and BC’s history, and should be preserved as such,” said Richelle Giberson, a North Delta resident. “But even more important is the 9000 year old archaeology site on which the Cannery stands. This site is so significant that archaeologists recommended protecting it under the Heritage Conservation Act. Instead, it looks as though the BC government would rather destroy the site to build a new highway for shipping goods to Walmarts across North America.”

In May, Bertha Williams of the Tsawwassen Band, Coast Salish Nation and William Burnstick, of the Cree Sioux First nations, launched a lawsuit to stop construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road through the area which contains many ancient human remains. Williams and Burnstick claim the road will cause irreparable damage to sacred grounds including undisturbed deposits dating back 9,000 years, as well as threatening the salmon First Nations people still depend on.

“This is the destruction of our past and future, and has to be stopped” said Burnstick. “A society that paves over its history and pollutes the planet has no future.”
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