Speaking at a media event in Surrey on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, B.C. Premier John Horgan said public health takes priority over business concerns in the implementation of the ministerial order restricting non-essential travel to Haida Gwaii. (Government of British Columbia/Facebook photo)

Speaking at a media event in Surrey on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, B.C. Premier John Horgan said public health takes priority over business concerns in the implementation of the ministerial order restricting non-essential travel to Haida Gwaii. (Government of British Columbia/Facebook photo)

B.C. premier ‘not going to be apologetic’ about closure of Haida Gwaii fishing lodges

Horgan says ‘public health takes the priority’ over business in implementation of travel restriction

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is “not going to be apologetic” about the forced closure of two fishing lodges on Haida Gwaii, following the July 30 ministerial order restricting non-essential travel to the islands.

Speaking at a media event in Surrey on Thursday (Aug. 6), Horgan was asked if any special accommodations could have been made for the two lodges that reopened earlier last month, considering distance between the lodges and the community outbreak of COVID-19 declared on July 24, and safety plans the lodges had developed prior to the outbreak, in line with B.C.’s Restart Plan.

ALSO READ: Haida Gwaii COVID cases climb to 24 over B.C. Day long weekend

“A month ago there were no cases on Haida Gwaii. Now there are,” Horgan replied.

“We’ve got a few more weeks to go before we can declare that we’ve got this under control. That’s our highest priority.”

Horgan said that he will “certainly talk to” business operators that are “well away from the mainland of Haida Gwaii.”

“They have legitimate concerns,” he said.

However, he added, “public health takes the priority in this circumstance and [he’s] not going to be apologetic about that.”

ALSO READ: Fishing lodge ‘shocked’ by B.C. ban on non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii

In a release on July 31, Brian Legge, president of the West Coast Fishing Club (WCFC), said the remote lodge off the west coast of Graham Island had reopened along with other B.C. tourism operators during Phase 3 of the Restart Plan, and was “shocked and stunned” by the non-essential travel ban put in place by Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth under the state of provincial emergency.

“Without warning or consultation, the B.C. government passed an Order In Council that immediately shuts us down by banning all non-essential travel to Haida Gwaii — while we are in the middle of tourist season — without giving us any plan to remove our guests and staff,” Legge said, adding that the lodge itself was free of the virus.

“Our lodge followed all the rules, someone else far away did not, and we get unfairly punished for their mistakes.”

He also said the lodge developed and had been implementing a plan to move guests by helicopter from Prince Rupert to WCFC, to avoid contact with Haida Gwaii communities.

“We also circulated our safe operating plan to the [Council of the Haida Nation], who never even acknowledged it, and to the B.C. government, who changed their original acceptance of it,” he said. “It is beyond frustrating that despite all this, our business is shuttered and we are facing enormous losses.”

The other lodge impacted by the ministerial order was the Queen Charlotte Lodge (QCL), which reopened on July 10 against the wishes of the Haida Nation.

The Observer has reached out to the Naden Harbour fishing resort for comment.

ALSO READ: RCMP investigating after Haida matriarchs say they were ‘put in danger’ by fishing lodge

Do you have something we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read