First Nations relations, recreation council priorities

First Nations relations and parks and recreation are two priorities for the Municipal District of Port Hardy.

First Nations relations and parks and recreation are two priorities for the Municipal District of Port Hardy.

“We’re going to be working hard on our First Nations relations,” and “our parks and recreation services,” said Mayor Hank Bood at council’s regular meeting Feb. 10.

“These are our two focuses right now,” Bood said.

The First Nations Relations Committee is currently working on terms of reference.

Councillor Jessie Hemphill, who chairs the committee, updated council on the group’s efforts.

The focus of the committee, Hemphill said, is to work on education and building relationships with each of the local First Nations bands (Gwa’Sala-’Nakwaxda’xw, Kwakiutl, and Quatsino) the band councils, and “involving the three bands in that discussion.”

The committee felt key words in their work should be “inclusive, respectful, open and flexible.”

They also discussed potential projects and initiatives such as the Reconciliation Canada Tool Kit, declaration and protocol agreements, dual language on signs, street lights from Seaview Trail to Park Drive, and cultural orientation.

The committee hopes to “open up dialogue between our council and their councils,” she said, and has received a small grant to do that work.

Parks and recreation is another priority.

“The District’s parks, playgrounds and trail facilities are very important to the quality of life in our community,” said Bood.

“They impact the quality of life for our young families and seniors,” Bood said.

Councillor John Tidbury gave a report on the Parks and Recreation Review Committee’s work which included a round-table discussion with councillors and some staff members on “many aspects of recreation” and completing an inventory of parks and recreation amenities.

The group discussed programs such as Communities in Bloom, energy projects for facilities, mountain bike trails, and First Nations’ participation in recreation services.

They also discussed topics like the pool, arena (ladies’ washrooms, showers, and locker rooms) skateboard parks and ballfields, Tidbury said.

They also reviewed past studies such as the Port Hardy Swimming Pool Conditions and Options Report conducted in 2004 and the Port Hardy Parks and Recreation Master Plan from February of 1998.

The committee plans to get user groups around the table to see “what they require from council to do business,” Tidbury said.