Election sees former chief return to Snuneymuxw council

NANAIMO – Former chief Doug White III elected to Snuneymuxw council in election.

At least one familiar face is back on the Snuneymuxw First Nation band council following an election held Saturday.

The band council consists of Chief John Wesley and 10 councillors, five of whom are elected every two years. The election for the chief is held every four years.

Former chief Doug White III was elected to council with 165 votes and was the vote leader.

White, who was defeated by Wesley in the 2013 election for chief, said he will bring issues he undertook as chief back to the council table.

“We did a lot of great work in the four years I was chief and I’ve been concerned about how that work has been, in some ways, abandoned over the last couple years,” White said.

He said he wants to focus on the future development of the Wellcox rail yard, which is an opportunity for every level of government and industry to work together.

“It’s a piece of land that’s really at the core of the story between the Snuneymuxw people and the rest of the world because the northern part of it was granted to us – or recognized – by the Treaty of 1854 as our aboriginal title lands and that’s something that still needs to be fulfilled,” White said. “The work has to be about treaty implementation and grappling with the complexities of that.”

White envisions the site as having similar redevelopment potential as False Creek or Granville Island in Vancouver and other industrial sites that were successfully reclaimed as urban commercial and residential centres.

Also elected were Regan Seward, 135 votes; Douglas J.C. White II, 125 votes; Isaac Thomas, 117 votes; and Stacy Jean (Kate) Good with 116 votes. A total of 466 ballots were cast.

Chief John Wesley was not available for comment before press time Wednesday.

Snuneymuxw First Nation has a population of about 1,700 and is one of B.C.’s largest First Nations.

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