The B.C. government is providing $700,000 and an accelerated land transfer for the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations that will support jobs and economic development in the tourism and clean technology sectors in Clayoquot Sound.
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Ida Chong announced $500,000 from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to support construction of Tla-o-qui-aht's Haa-ak-suuk Creek Hydropower project.
The six-megawatt project is located on Tla-o-qui-aht traditional territory in the Kennedy River watershed on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The project is owned 85 per cent by the Tla-o-qui-aht and 15 per cent by Kennedy Power of Nanaimo. This is the second green-energy project for the nation. The Tla-o-qui-aht began operations of its first facility, a 5.5-megawatt hydropower plant on Canoe Creek, in 2010.
At a ceremony in Victoria today, Minister Chong and Tla-o-qui-aht leadership also signed an extension and amendment to an Incremental Treaty Agreement (ITA) that will accelerate the transfer of a 12.1-hectare parcel of land to support commercial tourism development, jobs and economic opportunities around the Tla-o-qui-aht's Best Western Tin-Wis Resort.
Under the terms of the ITA signed in 2008, the land would have been transferred when the Tla-o-qui-aht, B.C. and Canada initialled a final treaty agreement. Under the amended and extended ITA, the land can be transferred much sooner, with the signing of an agreement-in-principle.
Signing of the agreement-in-principle triggers the transfer of a total 28.3 hectares in the resort municipality of Tofino. The amendment to the ITA is part of B.C.'s efforts to ensure First Nations are able to benefit from treaty in advance of final agreements. B.C. is also providing $200,000 in capacity funding to the Tla-o-qui-aht, the final payment of $600,000 associated with the ITA.
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Ida Chong
"The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations are working to develop jobs and opportunities that will contribute to a prosperous future for their community. Since signing the Incremental Treaty Agreement in 2008, our government and the Tla-o-qui-aht have made significant progress at the treaty table and we have built a stronger relationship with the Tla-o-qui-aht. We are pleased to be able to support their efforts in clean energy and tourism."
Moses Martin, Chief Councillor of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations
"The announcements today are an economic springboard for our Nation. These initiatives will benefit Tla-o-qui-aht and our neighbours and will ensure we share in the economic prosperity of Tofino for decades to come."
- Incremental treaty agreements (ITA) provide benefits to First Nations in advance of a final treaty while building trust between the parties, building momentum towards further milestones and providing increased certainty over land and resources.
- The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations were first to sign an Incremental Treaty Agreement with B.C. in 2008.
- The Tla-o-qui-aht ITA provides approximately 63 hectares of land and capacity building funding totalling $600,000 as the Tla-o-qui-aht reaches milestones in its journey toward treaty.
- Signing the ITA in 2008 triggered the transfer of 16.3 hectares of land (lot 124) just north of the existing reserve of Tin Wis, site of the First Nations-owned Best Western resort.
- Under the amended ITA, signing of an agreement-in-principle triggers the transfer of two parcels totalling 28.3 hectares. This includes lot 121 (16.2 hectares) and the eastern portion of lot 120 (12.1 hectares). This land is located to the north of the previously transferred land.
- The signing of a final agreement will trigger the transfer of the western portion of lot 120 (16.5 hectares on the waterfront, north of MacKenzie Beach) and Lot 128 (two hectares on the eastern side of Highway 4).
- These benefits are considered an advance by B.C. of a portion of the provincial share of a future treaty settlement package.
- The Tla-o-qui-aht Nations are currently in the final stages of an agreement-in-principle. Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations are located on the west coast of central Vancouver Island. Their main communities are located within the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park south of Tofino and on Meares Island. Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations have more than 1,000 members.
- B.C. has two other Incremental Treaty Agreements in place with the Klahoose and Nazko First Nations.
- The First Nation Clean Energy Business Fund aims to promote increased First Nation participation in the clean energy sector within their asserted traditional territories and treaty areas.
- Since it was introduced in 2011, the First Nation Clean Energy Business Fund has provided $3 million to support 54 projects with First Nations.
For more information on the First Nation Clean Business Energy Fund, visit www.gov.bc.ca/arr/economic/fncebf.html
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 213-6451 cell
Chief Councillor of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations
250 725 3350