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

A couple of clients took a break from the cold in January on opening day of the Connect Warming Centre. File photo
Courtenay council approves lease extension for Warming Centre

Courtenay council has approved a one-year lease extension and continued in-kind support… Continue reading

Courtenay artist Bill Bolten recently presented Dr. Bonnie Henry with this carving of a yellow warbler. Photo supplied.
Courtenay carver creates gift for Dr. Bonnie Henry

Bill Bolten presented the carving to B.C.’s public health officer in person

From left, NDP party leader John Horgan, Kus-kus-sum project manager Tim Ennis (with his daughter, Kestrel), K’omoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel, and Courtenay-Comox NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard pose for a photo across the estuary from the Kus-kus-sum site. Photo by Terry Farrell
B.C. VOTES 2020: Horgan promises to bridge Kus-kus-sum funding gap

NDP leader John Horgan made what could amount to a major financial… Continue reading

The three candidates vying for the Courtenay-Comox riding: Ronna-Rae Leonard (NDP) Brennan Day (Liberal) and Gillian Anderson (Green)
BC VOTES 2020 – Courtenay-Comox candidates address affordable housing

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Comox riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Hospice Society recently received a generous donation from a personal donor to help fill a fundraising gap created by COVID-19. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Comox Valley Hospice Society receives significant donation

CVHS is facing a fundraising shortage created by the pandemic

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A screenshot from the virtual all-candidates meeting on Monday, Oct. 19 hosted by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce. (SCREENSHOT)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Mid Island-Pacific Rim candidates weigh in on forestry, tourism, LNG

For the first time ever, Alberni Valley Chamber hosted a virtual all-candidates’ meeting

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Most Read