District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

The District of Lantzville and the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation, as neighbours, have a lot of common interests, and are interested in nurturing a co-operative relationship.

The district and the First Nation signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday, June 18, at Snaw-Naw-As Market, where Snaw-Naw-As Road meets Lantzville Road.

Chief Gordon Edwards said he wants the municipality and the First Nation to have a “side-by-side” relationship.

“Our paths are in the same direction and we’re working along the same goals of co-operation, discussions and development…” Edwards said. “We’re looking forward to these next few years. We’re going to have ups and downs; it’ll be a learning experience for us, and it will only strengthen the relationship that we want to develop with our neighbours to the south.”

Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain called the memorandum of understanding “momentous” and an important document for both communities, and said one of the goals is to help ensure everybody’s thriving and prospering.

“We’ve developed a relationship and I don’t want this to be like a business relationship, I want this to be a friendship between our two communities. To me that’s really important,” Swain said.

The document establishes a framework for the district and the First Nation to consider “issues of shared interest, mutual benefit, or community-wide policies” and guides the establishment of a joint working group that will regularly collaborate and make recommendations to the respective councils. The working group will include three Lantzville staff members and three members appointed by Snaw-Naw-As council, one of whom will be band councillor Brent Edwards.

The chief and mayor mentioned business development, beach frontage, water use, air quality and property access as some potential areas for co-operation.

“We’ll have lots of good discussions and lots of challenging discussions,” Gordon Edwards said.

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Nanaimo News Bulletin