THE PINK AREA is zoned by the Denman Island Local Trust committee as a conservation area. The inset within is an area in which the K'ómoks Band has an aquaculture operation.

THE PINK AREA is zoned by the Denman Island Local Trust committee as a conservation area. The inset within is an area in which the K'ómoks Band has an aquaculture operation.

Aquaculture application near Denman Island creates awkward situation

A K'ómoks First Nation aquaculture operation off Denman Island has generated some tension between the band and Islands Trust.

A K’ómoks First Nation aquaculture operation off Denman Island has generated some tension between the band and Islands Trust.

Islands Trust staff is seeking advice from provincial and federal agencies to see how the Denman Island Local Trust Committee, (DILTC) could respond to a KFN aquaculture operation in waters off Denman Island, which are zoned for conservation, according to the DILTC.

“We don’t have full clarity, and I don’t know if anyone does, and I don’t know if we’ll have for a while,” says Islands Trust Chief Administrative Officer Linda Adams. “The whole issue with First Nations aboriginal rights, as everybody knows, it’s a complex topic.”

According to FLNRO communications representative Brennan Clarke, the tenure at Henry Bay was granted to KFN-owned Pentlatch Seafoods Ltd. in 2010 by FLNRO.

The Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, (FLNRO), has the power to approve tenure applications, (licence of occupation), for aquaculture operations. But, other agencies have regulatory authority, too, including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, (aquaculture licence), Transport Canada and local government.

Clarke says the ministry encourages applicants to obtain approvals from other agencies, but agency decisions are made independent of each other, and FLNRO may grant a tenure prior to other agencies issuing their decisions.

According to a letter from KFN Chief Councillor Robert Everson to Islands Trust, KFN is asserting its rights to the area around Denman Island through its aquaculture practices.

“We have maintained the position that we do not recognize the authority of Islands Trust or the Denman Island Local Trust Committee, especially when it comes to any bylaws that may have an impact upon the lands and waters that we have had access to since time immemorial,” writes Everson, who could not be reached for comment in time for the Comox Valley Record’s deadline.

He also writes that KFN tried to address Islands Trust concerns as far back 2010, and in 2011 KFN asked for a temporary use permit while the “zoning inconsistency was addressed,” but the DILTC did not support the permit. He writes that the aquaculture zoning was put in place without any consultation with KFN.

According to Adams, the DILTC put zoning in place in 1998 “to recognize then-existing aquaculture tenures, with the remaining areas zoned for conservation.” Islands Trust couldn’t confirm Friday whether or not KFN was consulted because those files are in off-site archives, but Adams says Islands Trust general practice at the time was to refer “all proposed zoning changes to any First Nation that had expressed interests in the area, and to seek their comments.”

She adds the DILTC rezoned three marine areas in 2004 to allow aquaculture off Sandy Island and Seal Islets at the request of KFN.

The next DILTC meeting is set for 10:30 a.m.Tuesday, Nov. 26 at the Denman Island Seniors Hall, and the matter is on the agenda. To view the agenda package visit http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca. An FLNRO representative is expected to make a presentation at the meeting, but Clarke says the DILTC is encouraged handle the matter on its own.

“The Province encourages local government to follow their own compliance and enforcement of their bylaws prior to contacting FLNRO,” says Clarke. “It would not be appropriate for FLNRO to intervene until the Islands Trust has exhausted all of its enforcement options.”

Meanwhile, KFN’s Salish Sea Farms Ltd. has submitted six applications for aquaculture sites in the Comox Valley area, totalling more than 500 hectares. Three of those sites — 7.3 hectares in Henry Bay; 135.7 hectares northeast of Denman Island; and 118.7 hectares on the east side of Denman Island — fall within waters zoned for conservation by the DILTC.

Clarke notes these applications are for geoduck cultivation, while the existing site at Henry Bay doesn’t include geoducks. He says FLNRO is still gathering public input about the six current applications and no decision has been made.

“The applicant is aware that they must seek approvals from DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans), Transport Canada and local government,” adds Clarke.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

One of the rescues at CATS - Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society’s new location on Knight Road in Comox. Photo by Erin Halushak
Feline rescue organization growing into new space

Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society opens new facility on Knight Road

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Neighbours have reached out to media on several occasions with complaints about the property

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Tentative COVID-19 vaccine site chosen in the Comox Valley

B.C. is moving into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 mass immunization plan

Cumberland is considering downtown densification proposals, and with that comes questions around parking, among other things. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Water bottling ban, parking key changes for Cumberland zoning

Bylaw on amendments still need adoption following March 2 hearing

Sean LaFleur and Geoff Piper of Courtenay Nissan will be running 4 miles every 4 hours all weekend long in a fundraising campaign for YANA (You Are Not Alone).
VIDEO: Courtenay Nissan hosting YANA fundraiser

Courtenay Nissan is hosting a special YANA fundraiser all weekend long, from… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

The Courtenay Fire Department hopes to start a new recruit training program in mid-2021, pending Provincial Health Orders. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay Fire Department gets creative

Due to public health orders resulting from COVID, the Courtenay Fire Department… Continue reading

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read