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TlaAmin receives three parcels of land

Early transfer promotes economic development
Laura Walz

BC’s government has transferred three parcels of land to Tla’Amin (Sliammon) First Nation in advance of its treaty being implemented.

Mary Polak, minister of aboriginal relations and reconciliation, attended a community meeting in Tla’Amin on Friday, April 27, and officially announced the transfer. The three parcels, which total about 48.5 hectares, are:

• Oyster plant parcel: 0.16 hectares of filled foreshore adjacent to Tla’Amin-owned property at the end of Cannery Road on Okeover Inlet.

• Westview parcel: three district lots of approximately 48.3 hectares within the City of Powell River, bordered on the north by Tanner Avenue and Covey Road. The parcels are part of a much larger parcel of treaty land.

• Wharf Street: a parking lot at the intersection of Wharf Street and Willingdon Avenue, about 0.08 hectares.

The Sliammon First Nation Legacy Society will hold the land parcels until the effective date of the treaty. If the treaty is not ratified, the society would keep the parcels as private land.

“The Tla’Amin community has waited a long time for their treaty,” said Polak. “The early transfer of land under this agreement provides some tangible benefits today as the work continues toward ratification and implementation. The land we are transferring supports opportunities for Tla’Amin Nation to pursue community opportunities ahead of the treaty effective date.”

Tla’Amin Chief Clint Williams said the early transfer of the three parcels is a significant step on the road to treaty for the community. “These are tangible benefits that voters can point to as concrete examples of progress,” he said. “The lands were selected for their economic development potential and the early transfer will allow the people of Tla’Amin Nation to benefit from the value of the lands much sooner.”

Tla’Amin members who are eligible to vote will be casting their ballots on the treaty between June 8 and 16.

Roy Francis, Tla’Amin chief negotiator, said there are almost 600 eligible voters and people can still enrol. The approval threshold is 50 per cent plus one of all eligible voters, he explained. “It’s really important for us to get people out to the polls or get their ballots in,” he said. “It’s just not acceptable to not vote, so we’re going to be telephone canvassing, knocking on doors, encouraging people in every way we can to fill out their ballot and get it into the system.”

The final vote in Tla’Amin is on Saturday, June 16. Prior to that, there will be polling stations set up in Vancouver, Victoria and Tacoma. As well, mail-in ballots are being sent to eligible voters.

Provisions in the final agreement include: approximately 8,322 hectares of treaty settlement lands; approximately $29.7 million in capital transfers over 10 years; about $6.9 million in economic development funds; $250,000 for a fishing vessel fund; $1.7 million for the design and construction of an administration, culture and heritage building; about $663,000 annually for 50 years under a resource revenue sharing agreement; one-time federal funding of $4.6 million; ongoing federal funding of about $8 million a year for five years; ongoing provincial funding of about $446,000 a year for five years; forestry and fisheries allocations; and self-government, including law-making powers for matters related to lands, resources and other areas of governance.

During the community meeting, Angela Wesley, from the Maa-nulth First Nations, made a presentation about the first nation law-making process and John Jack, from the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, made another presentation about financial management and accountability.

Sherry Galligos, a Tla’Amin member, made lengthy statements opposing the treaty during the meeting as well.