First Modern-day Treaty on Vancouver Island Takes Effect

First Modern-day Treaty on Vancouver Island Takes Effect

David Wiwchar
3/29/11

ANACLA (Bamfield), BRITISH COLUMBIA - April 1, 2011 will be a historic day in British Columbia as the latest modern-day treaty comes into effect.

The Maa-nulth Final Agreement will be the first modern-day treaty on Vancouver Island, and will mark the beginning of a new era for five First Nations along the west coast shores of Barkley and Kyuquot Sounds.

The Huu-ay-aht, Ucluelet, Uchucklesaht, Toquaht, and Kyuquot First Nations will share a portion of 24,550 hectares of treaty settlement lands and a $73.1 million capital transfer.

The Nations also negotiated a resource revenue payment that could bring in up to $1.8 million each year from commercial forestry operations within their traditional territories, and payments of $10.3 million each year to fund ongoing programs and services.

“This agreement is 150 years in the making, and we have arrived at a place where all three levels of governments—federal, provincial and First Nations—are ready to build a better future together,” said Huu-ay-aht First Nation Chief Councilor Robert Dennis.

One of the Maa-nulth Nations, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation is already actively involved in forestry, fishing, shellfish aquaculture and aggregate mining in their territory. They own and operate the Pacheena Bay Campsite, HFN Forestry L.P., a gravel pit and other businesses surrounding the tiny village of Bamfield, where they are the largest employer in the area.

"Our first priority is to build upon our successes and leverage funds to bring a strong and secure economy to our area," said Huu-ay-aht Chief Councilor Robert Dennis. "Our First Nation has a long history of working with the people who have come to settle within our territories, and that will continue as we work together for a better future for everyone."

Devastated by downturns in the local forestry and fishing economies, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation is planning to spark a new era of prosperity for the Bamfield area.

"The villages of Anacla and Bamfield have been partners in growth for the past decade," said Stefan Ochman, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District Director for Bamfield. "With a Final Agreement now in place, the future of the entire region is now brighter thanks to the economic certainty it brings."

Under the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation retains 1,077 hectares of former reservation lands and 7,181 hectares of additional lands, mostly second growth forest lands. These lands will provide a 60,000 m3 Annual Allowable Cut in addition to Huu-ay-aht’s current crown tenure allocation of 87,000 m3.

“The foundation of Huu-ay-aht’s post-treaty success will be in the forests,” according to Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Stan Coleman, a longtime forest manager on Vancouver Island.

“Our connection to these forests go back tens of thousands of years, and we believe we can provide a model for forest management,” said Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis. “From logging to harvesting non-timber forest resources, we now have the ability to build a sustainable resource economy for our communities and our future generations,” he said.

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