Edmonton businessman begins build on B.C. burial ground
On National Aboriginal Day, B.C. First Nations and gulf islanders rallied and canoed around a tiny B.C. island cemetery that is being developed into the site of a luxury home.
Grace Islet, located in Salt Spring Island's Ganges Harbour, is presently owned by Barry Slawsky, an Edmonton-based businessman and former owner of the San Francisco Gifts chain of stores.
The site has been recognized as a burial ground by the B.C. Heritage Branch, but the province has issued Slawsky a permit to build a home on stilts, above the cairns.
Penelakut elder Laura Sylvester told CBC News the decision is "heart breaking."
Penalukut elders have reportedly asked for access to the property to remove any remains, but they say Slawsky has refused them access.