DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Dawson Creek & District Chamber of Commerce says the Government of British Columbia will provide its members with an update following B.C. Supreme Court’s cumulative impacts case ruling almost seven months ago.
A Zoom session has been tentatively scheduled for February 10th to provide chamber members with an update on the ruling, its significance and where negotiations are at regarding the permitting process.
The briefing is strictly for chamber members only, and invitations will be sent by direct email, according to the Dawson Creek Chamber.
Blueberry River First Nations and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations put out an “update” last month near the six-month mark since the ruling was made. No new information was revealed in the statement.
The two parties said they” understand the decision seriously impacted the region and caused uncertainty for workers and local communities,” and that they continue to together to improve land management processes to protect Treaty 8 rights.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled in June that the provincial government had breached the nation’s rights under Treaty 8, signed more than 120 years ago, because it allowed development such as forestry and natural gas extraction without the nation’s approval.
The B.C. government and the First Nation signed a $65 million agreement in October to support land restoration and cultural programs.
Rankin said the initial agreement would provide $35 million for Blueberry River First Nations to undertake land restoration activities and create jobs for band members and business opportunities for companies operating in the region.
The other $30 million will go toward helping the First Nation protect its cultural way of life, expand its land management resources, and restore the health of wildlife through management programs.
The agreement also resulted in the restart of 195 forestry and oil projects placed on hold due to the court’s ruling.
However, 20 other projects, which had been approved, could not proceed without negotiation with the First Nation because they related to development in areas of cultural importance.
As Judy Desjarlais was recently elected as Chief of the Blueberry River First Nation earlier this month, it is unknown at this time if former Chief Marvin Yahey will still be included in the decision-making process moving forward.
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