There will be a new face sitting at the table at next week’s Strathcona Regional District board meeting.
Space will be made for a representative from the Kyuquot/Checleseht (Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’) First Nation, which has been granted observer status only at board and committee of the whole meetings.
The Kyuquot/Checleseht announced last week they chose Lillian Jack as their representative.
“The Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations’ would like to thank the Strathcona Regional District for the invitation to participate on the board and committee of the whole as an observer,” wrote Gary Ardron, chief administrative officer for the Kyuquot/Checleseht, in a letter to the regional district.
“I anticipate that (Jack) will attend your next board meeting, which I understand is scheduled for June 27.
“We look forward to participating on the SRD board as an observer and the day that we become full participants,” Ardron added.
The First Nation was granted observer status by the board at the March 13 regional district board meeting.
In an historic vote, directors elected to change the board’s bylaw procedure to recognize participation at board meetings by treaty First Nations.
That means that any First Nation which reaches final agreement through the treaty process has the right to appoint a representative to the regional district board to sit as an observer.
As an observer, Jack will have her own designated seat at the table and have the right to participate in debate and submit items for the meeting’s agenda, but she cannot vote, move or second a motion.
Cortes Island director Noba Anderson, suggested directors take a program or workshop to familiarize themselves with First Nations culture.
“Given what we’ve just been through I think it would be appropriate to do some kind of gathering so we as a board can understand what’s appropriate and have a better cultural understanding,” said Anderson after directors had spent nearly one a half hours at the June 12 board meeting trying to decide where to hold a public hearing for a marina project proposed by the Klahoose First Nation on Cortes Island.
Directors voted to not hold the public hearing in the First Nations community after receiving letters from some members of the public concerned about speaking out on the applicant’s land.
As for welcoming a First Nations representative to the regional district directors’ table,
Gerald Whalley, director for Area A (Kyuquot-Nootka), said it would make sense to put Jack beside him as they share the same electoral area within the regional district.