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Calls for landfill search continue as protesters at second camp say they’re drawing visitors, support

Protesters calling for a landfill search for the remains of two homicide victims aren’t backing down, one week after they set up a second camp outside the human rights museum, a family member of one of the women says.

“It sucks that I have to stay at this camp, day in and day out, and fight for something that shouldn’t have to be a fight,” Jorden Myran told CBC on Tuesday at Camp Marcedes — named in honour of her sister Marcedes Myran, whose remains are believed to be in Prairie Green landfill.

Protesters who had been blockading the entrance to the Brady Road landfill earlier this month set up Camp Marcedes outside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, hoping the new camp would draw more support.

Camp Morgan, which was named in honour of Morgan Harris, whose remains are also believed to be in Prairie Green, has stood outside Brady Road landfill since December.

The new camp has been drawing attention, Myran said, with people bringing food, water, firewood and signs that call for the landfill to be searched.

A tent with a red dress hanging from it sits in a field next to another tent.
Camp Marcedes was set up last week after City of Winnipeg crews, with police present, took down a blockade at the entrance to Brady Road landfill, four days after a judge granted an injunction ordering protesters to clear the road. (Travis Golby/CBC)

“We’ve gotten a lot of people stop by and getting to explain what we’re fighting for and opening people’s eyes to what the big picture is here,” Myran said.

“Getting signs out here, being out here is definitely helping us. Big time.”

Visitors who stop by and ask about the camp are “shocked” and “dumbfounded” when they learn the government hasn’t supported a search, Myran said.

Feasibility report released

A report into whether it’s possible for Prairie Green landfill to be searched for the women’s remains was released to the public Monday evening.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), which spearheaded the federally funded feasibility report, had announced its findings in May. The report warns there are risks due to exposure to toxic chemicals and asbestos and that a search could take up to three years and cost $184 million with no guarantee of success.

It also suggests the materials could be excavated and searched off-site using conveyor belts.

In a Monday news release, the organization said the study “confirms that such a search is indeed feasible” and that it is releasing the report “to emphasize the importance of all levels of government taking responsibility to assist in locating these victims.”

Myran said she and other family members told AMC they were OK with the report being released, so the public can see it with their own eyes.

“We want to show people that it is safe for the search to be done,” Myran said.

At an unrelated Tuesday news conference, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, said it’s appropriate that the report is now available to the public, but her concern for the safety of those who would conduct the search remains a priority.

“In several areas within that report, it indicates that there’s significant concerns when it comes to the safety of individuals who would be conducting the search,” Stefanson said.

A sticker that says "search the landfill" is stuck to a City of Winnipeg garbage can outside Winnipeg Police Service headquarters.
Myran said support for a landfill search has been growing after protesters set up the second camp. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The Manitoba government announced July 5 that it would not fund a landfill search because of those concerns.

Myran says with support for the search gaining momentum since setting up Camp Marcedes, they’re going to keep fighting and calling on all levels of government to stand behind them.

“It’s showing that our fight is doing something, you know? We’re fighting and it’s getting out there because of us being here,” she said.

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