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Historic cannery demolished in North Delta

A 115 year old fishing cannery is currently being demolished by Port Metro Vancouver.

While Port Metro Vancouver claims the Glenrose Cannery must be taken down due to concerns over safety and looting, some activists and local residents see it as a concession to a major highway construction project.

The project in question, the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR), will sever the cannery site from outside access roads. The resulting commercial non-viability of the cannery is another factor contributing to Port Metro's decision to demolish it.

"The structure itself is a significant safety concern and fire-hazard that, as a result of looting, has been stripped of its useful components," says Sarah McPherson, Port Metro Communications Adviser. "We've talked to the Delta Heritage Commission and concluded that what was valuable within the structure was the wood, which will be removed and preserved."

But for some, the cannery is only a small part of the story. According to a 2001 archaeological impact assessment report, some artifacts unearthed on the cannery site are over 8,000 years old.

"This site has been a fisheries processing location for long than the pyramids have existed," says Eric Doherty, an organizer with

While the cannery itself was constructed over the water and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of Port Metro, the upland portion of the site is under the management of the province.

"As part of the environmental review process for the SFPR project, a comprehensive archaeology assessment was conducted with participation and review by First Nations," says Kate Trotter, Public Affairs Officer for the B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Communications Office.

Doherty, however, who has worked to stop the construction of the SFPR in its entirety, calls the integrity of the assessment into question.

"It was more like a public relations document than a technical report," he says.

When finished, the SFPR will connect Delta and Surrey with a 44 kilometer four-lane highway.

Ben Christopher is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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