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Snuneymuxw receives 212 hectares on Mount Benson as part of land transfer

Total agreement signed in 2020 will transfer more than 3,000 hectares of land in the area
A scene from Mount Benson from Buttertubs Marsh Park in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)

Snuneymuxw First Nation and the province have completed a transfer of 212 hectares of land on Mount Benson.

The transfer is the first step in implementing a 2020 land agreement between Snuneymuxw First Nation and the province of B.C. The remaining 2,882ha is planned for transfer to Snuneymuxw in the near future, noted a B.C. government press relase. The land transfers support implementation of the treaty of 1854, the province added.

“Our mission is clear: continue building on our economic growth and secure a prosperous future for generations to come,” said Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse in the press release. “We infuse our Snawaylth into all our economic projects, embracing it as a guiding force toward restoring balance within our territory. In doing so, we deepen our profound connection to the land and culture, while responsibly governing precious resources.”

The Mount Benson east land, also called Te’tuxwtun, is a heavily forested area south of Nanaimo within Snuneymuxw territory. The land being returned is now part of the SFN’s Petroglyph Development Corporation land holdings and is part of the First Nation’s forest management program.

“Snuneymuxw First Nation’s Mount Benson east lands hold much opportunity for the nation to create new economic activity in forestry, while also protecting wildlife habitat,” said Murray Rankin, B.C. minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, in the release. “This land transfer represents another step in our relationship. It will foster transformative change toward self-government and bring stability and prosperity to everyone in the mid-Island region.”

The remaining parcels of land attached to the agreement include 742ha on Mount Benson north and 2,097ha on Mount McKay.

“We give thanks to Snuneymuxw First Nation for their efforts in securing lasting economic prosperity for not only their members, but for the entire mid-Island forestry industry,” Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo MLA, said in the release. “The land transfer agreement represents a significant reconciliation step and aids in the path to achieving a healthy forestry industry for everyone in this region.”

READ MORE: Snuneymuxw, Sandstone developer sign agreement for land transfer along Nanaimo River

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