General News · 23rd July 2013
Chief James Delorme
Greetings Cortes Islanders and general public.
Although Klahoose First Nation apposes the hearing of rezoning application #171 we encourage the public to stand in support of your neighbors, The Klahoose. Your input is important to show the Strathcona Regional District your encouragement for our project. Your voice and your energy are greatly appreciated at this meeting. My hands are raised to you for standing for our people and creates a more positive relationship between our Nation and the People of Cortes Island.
I'mote sum squigon T'oq Kimook.
Letter submitted recently to the SRD:
Strathcona Regional District
301-990 Cedar Street
Campbell River, B.C.
July 22nd , 2013
This letter is to inform the SRD Regional Board that the Klahoose Resort Limited Partnership (KRLP) and the Klahoose First Nation will no longer be participating in the Rezoning Application for Bylaw 171. Chief and Council and our Board of Directors and KRLP staff will not be attending the upcoming Public Hearing in the Gorge.
KRLP was voluntarily participating in the rezoning process out of respect for the SRD and because Klahoose wishes to work with its neighbours. This despite advice from our legal team questioning the relevance and validity of this process to First Nations and of the Regional Board’s actual authority to zone over federally managed waterways.
We did in the expectation our application would receive fair treatment. This expectation has been proven false by the actions of the SRD.
The recent actions of the SRD Board and the Electoral Services Committee leave me no other alternative. I am forced to take this step because the SRD Board and its committee have sullied the process by inferring Klahoose First Nation would use intimidation and coercion to sway public opinion should the meetings be held at the multi-purpose centre.
The removal of the Chair from the process simply because she expressed an understanding of the Nation’s frustration with the actions of the SRD leads us to believe that there is a faction within the SRD that is pushing this process toward a pre-determined decision that is not favourable to the interests of the Klahoose First Nations or Klahoose Resort Limited Partnership.
Additionally, this “highly unusual step” leaves one with the impression that Klahoose were peddling influence or engaging the Chair in an unprofessional manner. I am extremely angry about this. As a result of this highly publicised action by the SRD, Klahoose will consider what actions will be required to mitigate any harm this may have done to our standing and reputation.
To be clear, Klahoose entered into this project and permitting process with every intention of meeting or exceeding the requirements. On this account, KRLP have unquestionably been successful. KRLP met the stringent criteria of Environment Canada, Navigable Waters and Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the design of our project. Moreover throughout the process the public has been provided unprecedented opportunity for review and comment on this project. In fact, public review and consultation went well above and beyond the requirements.
We worked cooperatively and effectively with the staff at all these Ministries and Departments including SRD Staff in multi-agency reviews that led to significant design changes to accommodate the concerns of the environment and the public.
Our work with the SRD Staff was respectful and cooperative and we have only positive comments on their work ethic. Unfortunately, the Electoral Area Service Committee chose to ignore the results of this work.
The work completed with the SRD Staff was in keeping with precedent and usual practice for rezoning on Cortes Island. The public hearing for the Gorge Aquaculture Tenures were held at the Gorge, The public hearing for the library was held at Linnaea Farms.
In both cases, the Chair was the local representative.
Therefore, KRLP requests to hold the meeting at Squirrel Cove were in keeping with the recent precedent. It was the SRD Board decisions that were unusual and outside of standard practice.
Consequently, the actions of the SRD have made a mockery of this application. If the Board so chooses to make itself look ridiculous, we cannot stop you. However, we will not stand by you or validate this process any longer.
Klahoose First Nation
Box 9, Squirrel Cove, B.C. V0P 1T0