A new pilot agreement between the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council (NNTC) and its five member communities and the provincial government aims to foster a collaborative government to government relationship.
Under the 18-month pilot, the NNTC and British Columbia will create a shared decision-making board that will make recommendations, and support more collaborative engagement. The first areas of focus will be directed mainly at mining and forestry decisions. The pilot also aims to develop a unique process that will focus on early collaboration between the NNTC and industry proponents.
The pilot covers Nlaka’pamux Territory, which includes the Highland Valley Copper Mine (HVC), owned by Teck Resources, which employs around 900 workers and generates significant economic activity for the area. The pilot is designed to take a phased approach to its areas of focus so that decisions being considered are added incrementally over the lifecycle of the pilot. The first phase will only consider decisions related to HVC, and subsequent phases will build on this foundation.
This pilot project builds on a framework agreement with the NNTC signed in March 2012. That agreement committed the Province and NNTC to work to negotiate shared decision-making and revenue-sharing agreements. As a result of that agreement, B.C. successfully achieved an Economic and Community Development Agreement (ECDA) with the NNTC and its five member communities which shared a percentage of HVC’s mineral tax revenue.
The Province is investing $550,000 over the life of the pilot, which includes funding to support the First Nations’ negotiation capacity and incremental funding related to project milestones.
The five NNTC member communities are Lytton, Skuppah, Oregon Jack Creek, Boothroyd and Spuzzum. They are located in the Fraser Canyon near Boston Bar, Cache Creek, Yale and Lytton.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation -
“This unique pilot project is a great opportunity for government to work in partnership with the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council. I believe that by focusing on developing an effective consultation process around resource applications we can provide real benefit to the First Nations, to proponents and to British Columbia in terms of moving resource projects forward.”
Grand Chief Robert Pasco, Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council -
“This is an important day for our relationship with the Province. The establishment of a joint Board to begin to work together on making land and resource decisions is an initial step in building respectful processes that acknowledge the stewardship and roles of our People and communities throughout our Territory. The NNTC has always operated from a position of principle, and over the last few years we have spent considerable time building understanding with the Province about those principles. This shared decision-making agreement begins the work of putting those principles in action in how we collaboratively make land and resource decisions. We are proud to see this work move forward, and look forward to 18 months of hard work as we build the next steps in our work together on land and resource decision-making. I thank our leadership and communities for their consistency and strength in protecting our Title and Rights, and applaud our team and that of the Province for all their hard work to get us to this day. “
Jackie Tegart, MLA for Fraser-Nicola -
“The pilot project is an important first step that will lead to greater collaboration. It will lay a foundation for more effective communication and co-operation in the future."
Chris Dechert, general manager, Highland Valley Copper -
“Teck is committed to creating real benefits for First Nations and communities in the areas where we operate. We welcome this agreement between B.C. and the Nlaka’pamux that will help facilitate decision-making related to resource development and support continued economic growth and opportunity for years to come.”
- The pilot has four phases, with subsequent subjects for decisions being added incrementally at the start of each new phase:
- Phase one of the pilot will only consider decisions related to the Highland Valley Copper Mine.
- Phase two will add in other mining decisions in Nlaka’pamux Territory.
- Phase three will add a number of forestry and forest resources decisions, excluding cutting and road permitting.
- Phase four will add cutting permitting and road permitting reports.
- The pilot includes developing processes and options for adding other types of decisions to the pilot and to any future agreements that are developed through the pilot.
- The pilot will establish a Technical Working Group in addition to the Shared Decision-Making Board. This will be made up of three NNTC appointees and three B.C. appointees. The board will develop processes, including timelines for reviewing applications and making recommendations to the NNTC and the provincial government.
- The pilot reflects an effort by the Province and NNTC to develop and advance a new relationship.
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council
250 457-0851 (cell)