The B.C. government's first-ever strategic engagement agreement (SEA) - with the Nanwakolas First Nations - is being renewed for another three years.
The renewal gives the Nanwakolas Nations improved opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in natural resource activity in their traditional territory, while increasing investment certainty and strengthening Nanwakolas's relationship with the provincial government.
The original Nanwakolas SEA, signed in 2009, grew out of the successful clearing-house pilot project launched in 2007 to begin streamlining consultation within Nanwakolas territories. Prior to that project and to the SEA, each separate provincial agency had to consult directly with individual Nanwakolas communities, which contributed to delays.
The SEA established co-ordinated government-to-government consultation between provincial resource agencies and Nanwakolas Nations on land and resource development applications.
The 2009 SEA reduced approval times for lands and resource-use authorizations and allowed Nanwakolas to hire 12 staff to work on permitting. The new agreement, which expires on March 31, 2016, provides Nanwakolas with $2.26 million for capacity-building and implementation of the agreement.
The SEA also includes a government-to-government forum to discuss and explore solutions for natural resource-based issues, among other interests. The forum also aims to help close the social and economic gap between Nanwakolas and other British Columbians. This may include discussions related to revenue sharing on major development projects proposed within Nanwakolas' traditional territories.
The renewed SEA adds two additional Nanwakolas Nations - the 'Namgis and We Wai Kai - to the agreement. These additions also provide an additional 1.1 million hectares to the agreement, which now covers approximately 4.5 million hectares on northeastern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast.
Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation -
"This agreement has been a great success, for Nanwakolas and for industry, reducing permitting times and increasing investment certainty. The fact that two additional Nanwakolas nations have chosen to join the agreement speaks volumes for its success in building stronger relationships and giving First Nations a stronger role in natural resource decisions."
Dallas Smith, president of the Nanwakolas Council Society -
"We are happy to see our SEA renewed, as it is the foundation of our evolving relationship with the government of British Columbia. This three-year renewal gives us the time and opportunity to continue taking this relationship to a place that provides for greater economic certainty that will create much needed jobs for the north island region."
Chief Bill Cranmer, Namgis First Nation -
"We are pleased to join this agreement between B.C. and Nanwakolas. As we have watched the success of the SEA grow throughout the province, we knew it was time to get engaged."
Rick Jeffery, president and CEO of Coast Forest Products Association -
"From a coast forestry perspective, this renewal of the Nanwakolas agreement is another positive step forward. By further streamlining consultation on land-use decisions, the renewal allows both parties to arrive at the best agreement in an even more efficient manner. Coast Forest Products Association looks forward to continuing and building our important relationship with our valued First Nations partners."
The Nanwakolas Council Society is a group of Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations, on northern Vancouver Island and the mid-coast, who joined in 2007 to work collaboratively on land and marine resource use, management and planning issues, and responses to provincial government resource development referrals.
The 10 participating Nanwakolas First Nations that are signatories to the SEA are: Da'naxda'xw Awaetlala, Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw, K'omoks, Kwiakah, Kwakiutl, Mamalilikulla-Qwe'Qwa'Sot'Em, Tlowitsis, Wei Wei Kum, 'Namgis and We Wai Kai. Their traditional territories stretch from Parksville to north of Cape Caution and extend inland across to Knight Inlet on the Mainland.
To view a map of the area covered by the SEA agreement, go to: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/Nan_SEA_evolution_map.pdf
To find out more about this agreement, go to: http://www.newrelationship.gov.bc.ca/agreements_and_leg/reconciliation.html
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 213-6451 (cell)
Nanwakolas Council Society