Seabird Chief Clem Seymour greeted MLAs Barry Penner

Seabird signs forestry agreement

Les says area full of potential resources

Seabird Island is the latest First Nation band to enter into a forestry revenue sharing agreement with province.

The agreement was signed on April 11, at a ceremony in the band’s gymnasium.

Several political figures attended, including Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

The new agreement “is a significant change for First Nations in the forestry sector,” she said. “It ensures that revenue from on-the-ground harvesting has a direct benefit on the future development of the Seabird Island community and all First Nations across B.C. who sign onto these agreements.”

The three-year term replaces an older model agreement, which had become outdated. Sts’ailes (formerly Chehalis) signed a similar agreement late last year.

The new agreement in Seabird will translate into a $252,000 initial “bridging payment” from the old term. While a news release from the province stated that the first year of the agreement will put $230,000 into Seabird’s coffers in the first year, many at the ceremony believed that the real numbers will be higher.

“I am always impressed by the potential that exists here,” MLA John Les said. “Trees are a renewable resource and (through this agreement) we can now plan economic opportunity for years ahead.”

He said the forestry sector is starting to rebound, which will result in higher returns.

The old Forest and Range Opportunity Agreements were based on population. The new Forestry Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreements are now directly related to harvesting activity. First Nations bands starting signing the agreements in November 2010.

“This is a significant step forward for Seabird,” Les said.

Chief Clem Seymour said the agreement was more about managing money and trees. It also shows that Seabird and the province can work together for a common goal.

“This opens the door just a little bit,” he said. “We can go a long way when we start to understand each other.”

This is how to make sure what we have today is going to be there tomorrow, and the days after tomorrow.”

But in the end, it will also compensate Seabird for work done on their territory.

“This is going to take care of a lot of long term goals,” he added.

MLA Barry Penner was also at the ceremony, which included drumming, blanketing and gift giving.

While this was the first time Polak has met with Seymour in her new role as minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, it was not her first time visiting the area. Polak’s father’s last name was Inkman, and even though she was raised in Langley, Polak said her childhood was filled with visits to the area to visit family.

news@ahobserver.com

Just Posted

POLL: How should Harrison deal with goose poop?

Monday’s council meeting raised questions about the best way to handle waste around the beach

Sts’ailes First Nation to vote on land code

Land Code would remove nation from 34 sections of Indian Act

KPU campuses go smoke-free starting Jan. 21 – and that includes vaping

‘We didn’t make this decision lightly’ says prez of the Surrey-based institution

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

Water upgrade work starts in Harrison

Participation compulsory for impacted properties

Find Your Fit tour comes to Agassiz

Gives students hands-on experience with career-planning tools

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Teachers’ union votes for non-confidence in school board

Lack of action after embattled trustee’s comments created unsafe workplace, Chilliwack teachers claim

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Most Read