The Government of British Columbia and Blueberry River First Nations have agreed to further adjourn pending litigation until April 29, 2019, to allow for continued collaboration on addressing the effects of resource development in Blueberry River territory.
B.C. and Blueberry River First Nations agreed to extend the adjournment as an outcome of progress on implementing an agreement reached on June 16, 2018, which had initially adjourned litigation until Oct. 15, 2018.
B.C. and Blueberry River First Nations continue to build a stronger relationship through the implementation of the agreement and good-faith discussions.
An important component of the agreement is to update and amend the Fort St. John Land and Resource Management Plan. This process is intended to begin in October 2018 and will provide the opportunity for Blueberry River First Nations and other interested Treaty 8 First Nations to co-lead this work with the Province. The process will also involve local governments, industry, stakeholders and the general public.
Determining the scope of amendments to the land and resource management plan is the first step in this process and will be developed collaboratively with all interested parties.
This work is one of a series of measures committed to by the Province and Blueberry River First Nations through the agreement. Other commitments include restoration of selected inactive roads, seismic lines and oil and gas sites, new wildlife protection measures and developing new processes intended to create a more collaborative approach to resource development approvals.
If the parties continue to make sustained progress together in the upcoming months, the litigation could be placed into a long-term abeyance agreement.
The Province is committed to establishing a respectful, long-term government-to-government relationship with Blueberry River First Nations, based on recognition of Treaty 8 Rights, including hunting, fishing and trapping.
A backgrounder follows.