No consultation before emergency flood work along the Fraser River in 2014 and 2016 had left Semá:th considering direct action, Chief Dalton Silver said

‘Cooler heads’ prevail with agreement between local First Nation, City of Abbotsford and province

No consultation before emergency flood work had left Semá:th considering direct action, chief says

The Semá:th (Sumas) First Nation, the City of Abbotsford and the Province have signed an agreement to guide how government works to prevent flooding in the future.

The agreement comes “after a decade of miscommunication and sometimes bumpy relations between Sumas First Nation, the City and the Province over bank stabilization work that damaged traditional fishing sites and fish habitat,” according to a press release issued Tuesday by Semá:th First Nation.

In the release, Semá:th chief Dalton Silver said that the First Nation was preparing for “direct action,” after emergency measures in 2014 and 2016 took place without consultation. But, he said, “cooler heads prevailed.”

The new agreement lays out how the three organizations will communicate going forward and implement future work to prevent flooding.

“This MOU formally recognizes reconciliation in action with the Sumas community,” said Craig Sutherland, the assistant deputy manager for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in the release. “Our united efforts will mitigate the potential impacts to fish and fish habitat, to the food, social, ceremonial and economic fisheries; it will protect the cultural heritage features along the Fraser riparian areas, as well as assist us to better understand and avoid cumulative adverse impacts and enhance or create fishing sites.”

RELATED: Sumas First Nation signs declaration in Abbotsford

RELATED: Province kicks in $4 million for Matsqui flood protection

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