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Land transfer creates greater economic opportunities for shíshálh Nation

Land transfer creates greater economic opportunities for shíshálh Nation

February 25, 2021 at 11:50 am  BC, News, Politics

The Province has transferred three parcels of Crown land to shíshálh Nation.

This transfer fulfils a commitment under the landmark 2018 Foundation Agreement that will bring significant long-term economic, cultural and social benefits to the shíshálh Nation.

“Our Foundation Agreement recognizes shíshálh Title and Rights and expresses how the standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be co-operatively implemented in our relationship with the Province,” said Chief Warren Paull, shíshálh Nation. “One aspect of this is the recovery of the lands of our swiya, and ensuring decisions regarding our lands occur with our co-operation and consent. The return of these lands is one important step in this work, which demonstrates how principled and transformative approaches to reconciliation are achievable and important and beneficial for entire regions and all peoples who live there.”

Since 1988, the 616 hectares, known as the gravel lands, have been leased from the Province to Lehigh Hansen Materials and used for a gravel extraction business. As the new owner, shíshálh has signed a lease with Lehigh Hansen to continue gravel production, ensuring long-term business certainty for the company and Nation, creating potential opportunities for growth and bringing economic benefits to the entire region.

“The transfer of these lands is a powerful example of the progress we can make on reconciliation when partners come together with a unified approach,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Our government and shíshálh Nation have created a strong and lasting relationship that sustains our work toward preserving the environment, addressing socio-economic gaps and promoting economic growth for the community and the region. I look forward to celebrating more successes in the future as we implement the Foundation Agreement.”

The Foundation Agreement recognizes and respects Indigenous title and rights and supports self-determination and shíshálh self-government. Key components of the agreement include the establishment of a government-to-government working relationship, new decision-making structures for natural resource use, economic and socio-cultural investments and land-use planning, as well as the transfer of the gravel lands for economic, social and cultural purposes.

B.C. and shíshálh have established strong provisions to ensure drinking water quality is maintained in a section of the Chapman Community Watershed that overlaps with the gravel lands. The Sunshine Coast Regional District’s water treatment plant is located on the gravel lands, and the land transfer agreement gives the regional district a legal right-of-way so staff can access and work at the plant.

Quotes:

Kevin Tokarek, area manager, British Columbia Aggregates, Lehigh Hanson Materials Ltd. –

“Lehigh Hanson supports this important agreement between shíshálh Nation and the Province for the transfer of these lands. We are excited about the future and look forward to working with shíshálh Nation going forward.”

Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast –

“This land transfer is a key element of the Foundation Agreement and improves economic security, not just for the shíshálh Nation, but for the region. There was significant collaboration between the Sunshine Coast Regional District and shíshálh Nation to prepare the lands for transfer, and their hard work is most appreciated.”

Lori Pratt, chair, Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) –

“The Sunshine Coast Regional District is working closely with our fellow board member hiwus Warren Paull and members of the shíshálh Nation to support the implementation of the Foundation Agreement. I want to thank the shíshálh Nation for its ongoing co-operation in ensuring SCRD staff can continue to access and operate key infrastructure that is located in the gravel lands.”

Quick Facts:

  • The gravel lands consist of three parcels of land that total 615.96 hectares.
  • shíshálh Nation is located on the Sechelt Peninsula of the Sunshine Coast, 50 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.

Learn More:

shíshálh Nation: www.shishalh.com

Learn more about agreements between the Province and shíshálh online:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-a-z-listing/sechelt-sh-sh-lh-first-nation

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