LADYSMITH, B.C.—A new reconciliation agreement has been signed between Stz’uminus First Nation and the Province of B.C.
Officials say the agreement establishes commitments to work together on community priorities and future land transfers, provides support for economic development and establishes funding for future environmental remediation activities in Ladysmith Harbour.
“There has been a lot of hard work that has gone into the negotiation of this agreement,” said Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris in a statement. “Stz’uminus looks forward to next steps in the implementation.”
The province stated the reconciliation agreement is just one step toward the parties’ together identifying potential provincial Crown land for transfer, and a commitment to land transfer agreements as much as $28.5 million.
The province added implementing the agreement will be an “immense undertaking” over several years but both are dedicated to creating a win-win situation.
“The province is looking to build new pathways to reconciliation, in partnership with nations,” said Murray Rankin, minister of indigenous relations and reconciliation. “By working collaboratively with Stz’uminus, we have come up with an agreement that includes a framework for future discussions related to revenue sharing, self-government, increasing Stz’uminus’ participation in the forestry sector, cultural, economic and social supports, something that is deeply important to both the nation and the province.”
The agreement also provides Stz’uminus with $3 million in immediate financial benefits to support Stz’uminus’s economic development initiatives, including the acquisition of private land within its territory, and sets objectives for the province and Stz’uminus to negotiate future agreements related to forestry and collaborative resource stewardship.
In addition, the province is providing Stz’uminus with $10 million over five years to support Stz’uminus-led remediation in key Crown land areas of Ladysmith harbour with the goal of supporting the Nation’s land acquisition and management plans within the harbour.