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'We demand justice': Calls for landfill searches continue as Brady blockade is lifted

A blockade at the Brady Landfill that has cost the city more than $400,000 has been lifted, but protestors say they are staying put until searches are underway for the remains of three women believed to be killed by an alleged serial killer.

According to an administrative report to the city, the Brady Landfill blockade which halted operations since Dec. 18 cost the city more than $400,000. The public service is now asking for a top up on its 2022 operating budget.

"As a result of waste being diverted, a budget adjustment of up to $411,000 is needed for the increased tipping fee expense in tax-supported waste collection," the report reads.

This comes as the blockade ends, but the encampment at the landfill remains.

Late Thursday, the city confirmed it had reached a compromise with the protestors allowing the landfill to reopen to the public Friday. The city said the encampment will remain near the entrance to the facility along the roadway, but residential and commercial customers will still be able to access the landfill.

"It's a compromise that we had to make," said Cambria Harris, the daughter of Morgan Harris – one of the four Indigenous women killed by an alleged serial killer and whose remains are believed to be at the Prairie Green Landfill.

Cambria Harris has been among those protesting since mid-December, calling for a search of both the Prairie Green Landfill and the Brady Landfill to find the remains of her mother as well as victims Marcedes Myron and an unidentified woman referred to as Buffalo Woman.

Harris told CTV News she doesn't agree with the decision to reopen Brady Landfill.

"It's quite sad what's going on and the fact that we had to take it this far and set up camp outside of a landfill just to ensure that the landfill isn't a final resting place for my mother and other women," she said.

The remains of Rebecca Contois were found this summer at Brady Landfill.

Thirty-five year old Jeremy Skibicki has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of the four women. The charges have not been proven in court.

An activist group called First Nation Indigenous Warriors has been camping at Brady Landfill since Dec. 18.

"We demand justice," Tre Delaronde, a protector with the group, told CTV News. "Like I said, it could be their daughters, it could be their sisters, their mothers, their nieces that are in that landfill too."

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) has been in the process of creating feasibility studies about what it would take to search the two landfills. The AMC's feasibility study committee was established late last year, when police said they would not be searching the Prairie Green Landfill.

AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said the landfill cells where the remains of these women are believed to be have been identified. The AMC's proposal for the search is now in the hands of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. Merrick said they could get an answer as soon as next week about the search.

"Then we'll be able to start the work to be able to prepare for the search at the Prairie Green Landfill," AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said, adding after that the AMC will be asking for a search of Brady.

As for the encampment at Brady Landfill, Merrick said after the conversation with the city, the committee came up with an agreement – reopening Brady Landfill, but keeping the camp on site.

"Space for the families to maintain where they are at, but not to close down the road permanently," she said.

Harris hopes their push inspires others who believe their loved ones are in landfills across Canada to fight for searches.

"Give me somewhere to go and place flowers down instead of having to bring up a traumatic event at the Brady and Prairie Green Landfill every single year," she said.

-with files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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