A reconciliation agreement between the Province and the Snuneymuxw First Nation will bring economic benefits to the Snuneymuxw, while increasing certainty for business in the Nanaimo region.
The agreement creates economic opportunities for the Snuneymuxw through the transfer of three land parcels, totalling over 877 hectares (2,100 acres), in the Mount Benson area. These will provide forestry-related opportunities that can be used to generate revenue and to create employment for Snuneymuxw members. The agreement also transfers to Snuneymuxw a culturally significant property in Departure Bay.
The agreement is a tangible result of the positive working relationship between the Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Province. It will increase certainty within the Nanaimo region by:
- Restarting the flow of land-use referrals and economic development.
- Supporting more efficient review and engagement between the parties regarding future land-use referrals.
- Developing a process to examine future use and management of the Nanaimo Estuary.
- Providing two years of operational certainty for BC Parks regarding Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park.
The reconciliation agreement also includes an engagement protocol which creates a forum to exchange information on the Douglas Treaty; to discuss requirements to establish an efficient framework for land-use referrals; and to start a dialogue on the future use and management of the Nanaimo River Estuary.
Under the reconciliation agreement, the Snuneymuxw First Nation's current operating permit for Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park will be extended by two years, allowing BC Parks and Snuneymuxw to discuss possible longer-term management arrangements. The agreement also will allow Snuneymuxw to maintain a presence on a culturally significant island and to create economic opportunities for its members.
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Ida Chong -
"This agreement is a milestone in the B.C. government's relationship with the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and is hugely significant for Nanaimo and the surrounding region. Under the BC Jobs Plan, we are committed to creating opportunities for First Nations to benefit from resource activity within their traditional territory. This agreement does that, while building a respectful partnership."
Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief Douglas White III -
"This agreement will provide a foundation for much needed economic and employment opportunities for our members and Nation, and is a positive step forward in our relationship with the Province. It builds on many years of effort by our Elders, leaders, and members who have stood in a strong and principled manner in trying to forge a better future for our children and youth. While there remains much hard work to be done, we are hopeful that we have now started on a path that will move all of us closer to that essential goal. All citizens of Nanaimo should take pride in the fact steps such as this are being taken that can help forge a better future for the region as a whole."
Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon -
"From my many years of living in Nanaimo and serving in local government, I know the importance of building a strong relationship with the Snuneymuxw First Nation and their importance to this community. This agreement, reached in a great spirit of co-operation, is a huge win for Nanaimo, increasing certainty for the region and bringing a wealth of future opportunities, not only for Snuneymuxw, but for all who call this region home."
Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan -
"This is a great day for Snuneymuxw, and indeed for all citizens of the Nanaimo region. This agreement is further evidence that Nanaimo is a centre for innovative and creative partnerships and agreements. The City of Nanaimo applauds Snuneymuxw and the Province on reaching this important milestone."
- The Snuneymuxw First Nation is a large Hul'q'umi'num-speaking, Coast Salish First Nation located in and around Nanaimo and Gabriola Island.
- The Snuneymuxw First Nation has more than 1,700 members and six reserves covering 266 hectares (657 acres).
- The Snuneymuxw First Nation has one of the largest First Nations populations in B.C.
- A reconciliation agreement is one of many types of agreements the Province has developed to strengthen relationships with First Nations and create opportunities for comprehensive and lasting reconciliation.
- By advancing benefits to a First Nation, a reconciliation agreement can help to build trust between the First Nation and the Province, as well as to create incentives to reach further milestones and to provide increased certainty over land usage and resources.
For more information about the Snuneymuxw First Nation Reconciliation Agreement, visit: 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)
Chief Douglas White
Snuneymuxw First Nation
250 756-7563 (cell)