First Nations Engagement
First Nations engagement is a key priority when planning for wastewater treatment in the Core Area, The CRD is eager to work with its First Nations neighbours in a meaningful way on the project to ask for their input, to use that input in the design of the project, and to seek opportunities to work together.
Consultation agreements have been signed by the Songhees, Beecher Bay and Esquimalt Nations, the Province and the CRD. These agreements lay out the responsibilities and steps for engagement for the CRD, the Provincial Government and participating First Nations. The consultation agreements state that the province is responsible for the consultation process and that it will delegate certain aspects of that process to the CRD.
In addition to the protocol with the provincial government, the CRD has taken the following steps to engage First Nations on the wastewater management program:
- The CRD is conducting an ongoing information sharing process with Songhees, Esquimalt and Beecher Bay Nations on project design, siting work, and marine monitoring, recording interests and providing these records to MOE officials (summary of interests attached).
- Key feedback received to date includes:
- Facilities should not be built on crown land.
- There should be no impact on traditional fisheries or archaeological sites, primarily along the foreshore.
- Adequate sewage capacity should be available for future community development needs.
- To address concerns First Nations representations have been directly involved and updated on marine monitoring and environmental and archaeological impact studies.
- Discussions continue on appropriate methods for sharing costs for these communities' share of wastewater treatment costs.
- The parties continue to use the wastewwater engagement process to discuss other issues of mutual concern, including:
- Inflow and infiltration issues
- Ceremonial wood
- Bathing pools
- The Regional Sustainability Strategy
- The E&N Rail Trail
Read the March 2010 Update on First Nations Consultation and Engagement.
Read the November 2009 Update on First Nations Consultation and Engagement.
In 2009 the CRD planned to accomplish the following goals:
- Begin the information sharing process in earnest with Songhees, Esquimalt and
Beecher Bay Nations on project design and siting work
- Resolve issues, as possible, and refer those not resolvable within the CRD legislative
mandate to the provincial or federal government
- Provide information to other interested First Nations not directly affected by the project.
It is important to recognize that consultation and engagement with First Nations is not an endeavor that can be accomplished by simply setting a deadline. Given the complexities of the wastewater treatment project, the legal requirement and genuine desire to engage and consult with First Nations in a meaningful way, and the number of other important endeavors taxing these First Nationís capacity, this pursuit can be expected to be an important element of the wastewater treatment project.
Read the March 2009 Update on First Nations Consultation and Engagement.