Mount Benson, seen from Nanaimo’s Northfield Road rest stop. The Snuneymuxw First Nation and provincial government announced agreements to transfer land on the mountain to the First Nation. (News Bulletin file photo)

Mount Benson, seen from Nanaimo’s Northfield Road rest stop. The Snuneymuxw First Nation and provincial government announced agreements to transfer land on the mountain to the First Nation. (News Bulletin file photo)

Snuneymuxw, province sign land transfer agreement that includes parts of Mount Benson

First Nation sees economic development opportunities through forestry partnerships

The Snuneymuxw First Nation and the provincial government announced this week they have come to agreements that will include transfer of land at Mount Benson.

The reconciliation implementation framework agreement and land transfer agreement, announced by the province and the First Nation on Sunday, include more than 3,000 hectares of “culturally and economically significant lands” at Mount Benson and Mount McKay.

Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse, in a letter to members of the First Nation, said the agreements recognize treaty rights and return traditional territory to the First Nation.

“These two agreements combined are amongst the largest comprehensive reconciliation agreements in B.C. that will breathe life through the generations,” Wyse said.

The government press release notes that the agreement will lead to economic growth and as many as 160 jobs “through innovative forestry partnerships” connected to a Mid Island Regional Forestry Initiative signed in 2017.

“Our shared commitment to stewardship and protection of the lands and waters of British Columbia and protection of endangered species and habitat is an essential element of our values to protect our lands and resources for this and future generations,” Wyse said in the release. “Like we have always done, Snuneymuxw people welcome new relationships, support prosperity and business development in the mid-Island area, and will work with all of our partners to bring new opportunities.”

The land parcels include approximately 1,000 hectares at Mount Benson and 2,100 hectares at Mount McKay. The release notes that the Mount Benson parcel overlaps with Snaw-naw-as First Nation traditional territory and the Mount McKay parcel overlaps with Stz’uminus First Nation’s traditional territory, and that land transfers won’t be finalized until consultations have been concluded with those First Nations.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said the agreements are part of “an historic day for reconciliation” and said the Snuneymuxw First Nation will be able to move forward with a vision to grow the economy in partnership with forestry companies.

“I committed to the Snuneymuxw First Nation to help resolve a long-standing desire for a greater stake in the economic development of Crown lands in their territory, and I’m pleased to act on that commitment now,” he said in the release.

READ ALSO: Snuneymuxw sign letter of understanding with Canadian government

The release adds that Snuneymuxw’s planning for the lands will prioritize public engagement, noting that the lands include “key wildlife habitats and popular recreation spots for the public.” The release says 300 hectares on Mount McKay will be conserved as habitat for elk and deer.

Scott Fraser, B.C. minister of indigenous relations and reconciliation, said in the release that Snuneymuxw has been working with local forestry companies on a strategy to reinvigorate the forest industry in the region.

“These agreements support this work – helping to create jobs and ensure stability and economic growth throughout the region, which will benefit everyone living in the central Island,” he said.

The press release notes that as part of the agreements, Snuneymuxw will drop litigation against the province over concerns around log booming in the Nanaimo River estuary.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

First Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The site of the former Arrowview Hotel, on Second Avenue and Athol Street, as of Jan. 14, 2020. (Elena Rardon/Black Press)
Port Alberni pressures owner of demolished hotel, Lantzville’s Pottie, for final cleanup

Demolition finished in June 2020 but site still full of construction material

Letter writers weigh in on the City of Nanaimo adopting ‘doughnut’ economics as a guiding principle for decision-making.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: City of Nanaimo’s ‘doughnut’ has to be more than empty calories

Letter writers react to city council’s recent decision to adopt ‘doughnut’ economic model

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a car and a minivan Saturday afternoon at the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
One person taken to hospital after crash in north Nanaimo

Car and minivan collided Saturday at the intersection of the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

Police in Nanaimo hope to find the owner of a Giant Reign mountain bike that was seized after a man was spotted riding it without a helmet on the wrong side of the road on Christmas Eve. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP suspicious to find expensive bike covered in layer of duct tape

Police looking for owner of Giant Reign mountain bike that they believe was stolen

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a car and a minivan Saturday afternoon at the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
One person taken to hospital after crash in north Nanaimo

Car and minivan collided Saturday at the intersection of the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive

Cyclists pick up swag and cycling trail maps at city Bike to Work Week ‘celebration station’ a few years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo’s active transportation plan will be about more than infrastructure

City working on goals to double walking trips and quintuple cycling and busing trips

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam at a press conference last year. (Canadian Press photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Better federal vaccine planning badly needed

Why hasn’t Parliament done more to protect seniors and care homes, asks letter writer

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Kinsmen Participark in Beban Park will be closed next week so city workers can remove dangerous trees and invasive plant species. The work is the start of an improvement project that includes replacing signs and fitness stations in the spring. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo fitness park to close for removal of hazard trees and invasive plants

Tree cutting to start in Beban Park’s Kinsmen Participark as part of improvement project

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read