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Police storm Capilano RV park, five arrested
West Van police arrested five people Wednesday morning, as a land dispute between the Squamish Nation and Capilano Mobile Park operators heats up.
Carrying out orders to enforce a court injunction, police swarmed the park and took the people into custody when they refused to leave the property.
The arrests stem from a Squamish Nation lawsuit filed in December against the RV park's operators — Dennis Lloyd Baker, Franklin James Baker, Darlene Violet Baker, Pamela Constance Baker Pack, Wayne Charles Baker and Wade Stephen Baker.
According to the B.C. Supreme Court claim, the operators paid a percentage of the trailer park's net revenue monthly for the use of Squamish's Capilano Indian Reserve No. 5 land. The agreement expired on October 14, 2008, and talks for a new agreement broke down, states the claim.
“[The defendants] have refused to engage in any discussions with the Council,” states the filing.
Since May 26, 2010, the Capilano Mobile Park operators have not made payments to the nation, while continuing to operate the park, according to the claim.
“As a result ... the plaintiffs have been deprived of the use and enjoyment of their lands and premises and suffer and continue to suffer loss and damages,” the document states.
Chief Floyd Joseph said the suit boils down to a power struggle.
"The power is being taken away from us," he said. "People are turning on their own people."
Squamish Nation council should have brought the issue forward to a general council meeting with band members, not the provincial court, said Donald Mathias Joe, whose great grandfather helped establish the RV park 45 years ago.
"All our council today wants to do is lease out our lands and make other people prosper," Mathias Joe said.
Squamish Nation is fighting its battle by modern day legislation, while the operators are looking to older laws, First Nations activist Jo-ann Nahanee said.
"There are liens on the land by these people [the operators]," she noted.
Squamish First Nations Chief Gibby Jacobs could not be reached for comment.
West Van Police Department spokesperson Jag Johal said the people arrested will be released on a "promise to appear" and should that adhere to the injunction, otherwise they will be brought before a Supreme Court Judge.