Capital Regional District headquarters entrance on Fisgard Street in Victoria. (Don Descoteau/Black Press Media)

Capital Regional District headquarters entrance on Fisgard Street in Victoria. (Don Descoteau/Black Press Media)

CRD opening doors for more First Nations input on Greater Victoria decisions

Board targets 2021 to have representation from local nations on various CRD committees

Work on giving the nine local First Nations in Greater Victoria more input into Capital Regional District governance activities has been ongoing since 2015.

The CRD board, sitting as committee of the whole on Oct. 28, took further steps along that road, giving preliminary approval to a new bylaw that opens the door to representation on standing, select and advisory committees from each of the nine area nations. Provincial law currently prohibits participation on the CRD board by First Nations without a modern treaty in place.

The board had previously unanimously voted to make further First Nations input into CRD decision-making one of its strategic priorities for this term, 2019-22.

“This is very important to me personally, as I believe our country needs to reconcile, heal and move forward in a respectful and thoughtful way being inclusive of First Nations perspectives, territories, and expectations,” said CRD board chair Colin Plant after the meeting.

RELATED STORY: CRD wants closer relations with First Nations

Based on research into which committees’ work might affect or potentially be of interest to First Nations, staff chose the CRD’s First Nations relations; governance and finance; environmental services; solid waste advisory; planning, transportation and protective services and regional parks committees for inclusion as of January 2021.

Directors also approved the next step, to connect with elected officials from each nation to see if this list is complete in their view or if a broader area of input would be desirable.

“But I suspect with the additional consultation we may not hit January as a start date,” said Plant. “We will go out with an open mind and engage in authentic consultation.”

Plant is “optimistic” the CRD is on the right path to greater First Nations participation. “And to show the importance of this work, I intend to participate in these discussions with First Nations leadership to seek input on the bylaw and ask how they envision participation at the committee level,” he said.

While some directors voiced procedural and even logistical concerns, given COVID-19 safety regulations, of having up to nine extra members on the chosen committees, CRD board vice-chair Denise Blackwell said later in an interview, “everybody around the table believes it’s important and that we get off on the right foot.”

“It’s something that we want to do in this era of truth and reconciliation. It’s important for us to reach out and see what they want to do,” she added.

CRD First Nations Relations staff have connected with seven of the nine nations and heard interest from some chiefs. “If they don’t get traction from a couple of the bands, it’s probably not going to make or break (moving forward),” Blackwell added.

Asked whether CRD directors would be encouraged to reach out directly to First Nations leaders in their own communities to talk about the opportunity for inclusion, Plant said every local government official should desire to develop a relationship “based on mutual respect and opportunity.”


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Capital Regional DistrictCRDFirst Nations

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

Just Posted

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read