General News · 11th March 2011
Box 394, Whaletown, BC, V0P 1Z0
March 11, 2011
Klahoose First Nation
Thank-you for your letter to the SRD board members dated March 9th, 2011, regarding the Cortes Official Community Plan. I am responding solely as the Regional Director for Cortes Island, and not on behalf of the Strathcona Regional District board. Only the board can direct such a response and will not be meeting until the end of the month.
The Klahoose First Nation and the Strathcona Regional District, as the two most local levels of government with territory and jurisdiction over Cortes Island, have tremendous opportunity for collaboration, as is witnessed by many first nations/local government partnerships across the province. Fully recognizing the very important stake that Klahoose has in the regulation of the area, I continue to hope that the review of the Cortes OCP provides an opportunity for both Klahoose and the broader community to co-create a document.
Previous to the time for formal consultation with Klahoose, Focus, Strathcona Regional District staff, and I have made outreaches to you, in your role as Chief, and to your councilors, inviting your participation in the Cortes OCP review process. You have made it consistently clear that the Klahoose First Nation has not wanted to participate in the front-end stages of the OCP review; that of data and input gathering.
With the release of the first draft, to which you are commenting, we have now just begun the broad Cortes community consultation on the final product, which I fully anticipate will take some time. SRD staff will be writing to you very shortly and extending a more formal opportunity for comment and involvement now that we have a draft for your consideration. In the absence of any less formal upfront input, all legislated formal consultation will indeed occur as we proceed through the final phase of the review.
Focus wrote the first draft of the revised OCP. Neither I, nor the OCP steering committee, nor any other Cortes Islander read the draft before its broad release to the public in February. The content and maps were that of Focus and not that of the SRD. For many reasons, including having given Klahoose reserve lands a map designation, the first draft of the OCP designation map has been totally scrapped. Your comments included in your letter are greatly appreciated and will certainly be taken into consideration during the writing of the second draft which will be publicly released in April. The community is giving input on a draft that will be altered by all kinds of interests for all kinds of reasons. At this time, it will be the SRD that takes over the final drafting of the document and its associated maps.
Regarding your assertion that I, as Regional Director, have passed along community input to Focus out of any personal desire to limit Klahoose’s aquaculture activity is untrue. I do have a professional interest in doing my best to find some kind of solution to the longstanding conflicts in the Gorge Harbour. To that end, I make no apologies about asking SRD staff to investigate all possible tools. Again, numerous outreaches have been made about your Gorge aquaculture application to yourself, your councilors and your Administrator from me, my staff and a professional facilitator hired by the Province. The SRD also extended a formal invitation from the board to meet with Klahoose Chief and Council through a ‘Community to Community Forum’, to which we have had no formal response.
Given that you and council have not been interested in participating in the crafting of the draft OCP to date, it is no wonder that it does not correctly reflect your interests. I am grateful that this draft has caught your attention and propelled your involvement. If, at this time, you are willing to continue to give your input on the draft, it certainly would be appreciated. In addition to this more informal exchange, Chief and Council will certainly be formally consulted by the SRD now that we have, for the first time, something that we can actually send to you.
Area ‘B’, Strathcona Regional District
Cc: Councilor Kathy Francis, Councilor Wayne Pielle, Councilor Jessie Louie, Band Administrator Bev Hills, Strathcona Regional District Board members and Chief Administrative Officer Brian Reardon