B.C., Nanaimo Sign Agreement With Snuneymuxw Nation

by NationTalk on September 20, 20071345 Views

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2007ENV0106-001150
Sept. 19, 2007

Ministry of Environment

VICTORIA – The government of British Columbia and the City of Nanaimo have signed an agreement with the Snuneymuxw First Nation for the collaborative management of Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today.

“This tripartite agreement is the first of its kind in the province, and it will allow the government of British Columbia, the Snuneymuxw First Nation and the City of Nanaimo to better protect the natural resources of Newcastle Island,” Penner said. “The agreement will also help us preserve the park’s link to First Nations’ heritage and culture, and its historic connection to the people of Nanaimo.”Located in the Nanaimo harbour, Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park has been a class A provincial park for nearly 50 years. It is home to unblemished areas of rare coastal Douglas fir, and to aboriginal and non-aboriginal places of cultural significance, including sites of archaeological interest such as burial grounds, shell middens, historical buildings, the remains of a mine, a sandstone quarry and fish salteries.

“Newcastle Island is part of the rich heritage of the Snuneymuxw people in the Nanaimo region, so this agreement is an important one for us,” said Snuneymuxw Chief Viola Wyse. “We’re looking forward to a positive relationship with the city and BC Parks in managing the park.”

Through the creation of a management board comprised of representatives of all three parties, the collaborative agreement for the management of Newcastle Island will provide a forum to discuss issues of common interest by integrating scientific and traditional knowledge in the management of the natural and cultural resources of the park. This will encourage compatible economic opportunities while protecting the unique historical, cultural, natural and recreational features of the area.

“This historical agreement paves the road for B.C.’s discussions with First Nations and municipal governments,” said Ron Cantelon, MLA for Nanaimo-Parksville. “It reflects our intent to achieve the best possible management of parks and protected areas in the province.”

“Newcastle Island is extremely important to everyone in this region,” said Nanaimo Mayor Gary Korpan. “The Snuneymuxw First Nation and the City of Nanaimo have led the way in partnering with BC Parks to achieve a unique management structure for a very special park.”

Through the Pacific Leadership Agenda, the Province of British Columbia is committed to building a New Relationship with First Nations and Aboriginal people, concluding treaties, and closing gaps in health, housing, education, and economic opportunities.

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Contacts:

Kate Thompson
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Environment
250 953-4577

Chief Viola Wyse
Snuneymuxw First Nation
250 740-2300

Mayor Gary Korpan
City of Nanaimo
250 755-4400

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