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Gravel lands transfer to shíshálh Nation

Gravel lands transfer to shíshálh Nation

The Province has transferred three parcels of Crown land to shíshálh Nation.
Since 1988, the 616 hectares, known as the gravel lands, have been leased from the Province to Lehigh Hansen Materials and used for a gravel extraction business. As the new owner, shíshálh has signed a lease with Lehigh Hansen to continue gravel production, ensuring long-term business certainty for the company and Nation.
The transfer fulfils a commitment under the landmark 2018 Foundation Agreement that will bring significant long-term economic, cultural and social benefits to the shíshálh Nation.
“Our Foundation Agreement recognizes shíshálh Title and Rights and expresses how the standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be co-operatively implemented in our relationship with the Province,” said Chief Warren Paull, shíshálh Nation. “One aspect of this is the recovery of the lands of our swiya, and ensuring decisions regarding our lands occur with our co-operation and consent. The return of these lands is one important step in this work, which demonstrates how principled and transformative approaches to reconciliation are achievable and important and beneficial for entire regions and all peoples who live there.”
“Lehigh Hanson supports this important agreement between shíshálh Nation and the Province for the transfer of these lands,” said Kevin Tokarek, area manager, British Columbia Aggregates, Lehigh Hanson Materials Ltd. “We are excited about the future and look forward to working with shíshálh Nation going forward.”
The Foundation Agreement recognizes and respects Indigenous title and rights and supports self-determination and shíshálh self-government. Key components of the agreement include the establishment of a government-to-government working relationship, new decision-making structures for natural resource use, economic and socio-cultural investments and land-use planning, as well as the transfer of the gravel lands for economic, social and cultural purposes.
“The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is working closely with our fellow board member hiwus Warren Paull and members of the shíshálh Nation to support the implementation of the Foundation Agreement,” said SCRD Chair Lori Pratt. “I want to thank the shíshálh Nation for its ongoing co-operation in ensuring SCRD staff can continue to access and operate key infrastructure that is located in the gravel lands.”
BC and shíshálh have established strong provisions to ensure drinking water quality is maintained in a section of the Chapman Community Watershed that overlaps with the gravel lands. The Sunshine Coast Regional District’s water treatment plant is located on the gravel lands, and the land transfer agreement gives the regional district a legal right-of-way so staff can access and work at the plant.
Submitted by GovBC

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