Fishing issues snagging treaty process

Treaty negotiations for the K’ómoks First Nation continue to linger, but Canada hopes to soon resume the process, once it sorts out fishery-related issues.

The negotiation of salmon-related fisheries issues at treaty tables in B.C will be informed by the findings and recommendations of the Cohen Commission — an inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River — says Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

“Its (federal government) priority is to ensure that fishery arrangements balance the rights of First Nations and all Canadians,” said Michelle Perron, media relations officer at Aboriginal Affairs. “We hope to be in a position to resume treaty fisheries negotiations shortly.”

Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan noted approval of the critical fourth-stage Agreement-in-Principle was reached “quite happily.”

Broader issues are now at the forefront as negotiations approach stages five and six — final agreement and implementation, respectively.

“Some of the local sticky issues — issues around Goose Spit — I think they’ve more or less worked themselves out,” Duncan said. “I’m actually delighted that the First Nations have a sense of urgency about it. I think that’s great.”

Treaty negotiations for the KFN began more than 18 years ago.

The AIP offers the K’ómoks people $17.5 million and about 5,000 acres of land, including the return of the tip of Goose Spit, which had been a contentious stumbling block. It also includes about 2,000 acres at the Royston woodlot, and land at Williams Beach, Kelsey Bay, the base of Mt. Washington and Lot BL7 near Union Bay.

With federal funds, the Province purchased the Sage Hills property in Royston in 2012. The acreage — which is adjacent to several parcels of land the KFN acquired from Kensington Island Properties — will be included in the final settlement package.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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