A new agreement between the provincial government and local First Nations may bring greater prosperity for the North Island.
The North Island Regional Protocol Agreement will involve five Kwakwaka’wakw nations — members of the Nanwakolas Council — in jointly coordinating resource development while at the same time taking the social and cultural well-being of the communities into account.
One result that has already taken place is a negotiated forestry schedule that will give the five nations access to 92,450 cubic meters of timber in licenses.
The Nanwakolas Council Society is a group of eight Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations on Northern Vancouver Island and the mid-coast that joined forces in 2007 to work collaboratively on land and marine resource use, management and planning issues and responses to provincial government resource development referrals.
The protocol also lays out specific guidelines for local governments to inform and involve local First Nations that may be affected by economic and political developments.
Opinions suggest providing a reliable and consistent framework for development involving local first nations will encourage investors and developers to locate their projects in BC.
“It can be beneficial to all of us,” said Port McNeill Mayor Gerry Furney.
“These agreements support development that is guided by the mutual interests of the First Nations, B.C. and local municipalities,” he said.
“I congratulate the province and the Nanwakolas council on reaching an agreement that will support a sustainable economy and jobs, while at the same time ensuring environmental and cultural protection.”
Although the agreement is in its beginning stages, it’s the next in a series of other cooperation and reconciliation agreements between the province and other nations including the Haida and Haisla.
“They want to get along with their neighbors,” said Furney.