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NEWS RELEASE · 11th December 2009
BC Government
The Province and First Nations from the Central and North Coast have signed the Coastal Reconciliation Protocol that will provide a framework for lasting reconciliation, announced Premier Gordon Campbell today.

"I want to congratulate all Coastal First Nations on their leadership and vision in working with us toward this historic signing," said Premier Campbell. "Together we're building on the momentum of the New Relationship by providing improved infrastructure, jobs and other economic opportunities to help meet the needs of these communities."

This community-based agreement between the Province and Gitga'at First Nation, Haisla Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo Indian Band, Metlakatla First Nation and Wuikinuxw Nation will increase economic and legal certainty for resource and land use, establish a process for shared decision making and create opportunities for participation in the green economy.

"The Reconciliation Protocol provides our communities with the means to build a sustainable economy - one that respects our Aboriginal Rights and Title, our culture and the environment," said Art Sterritt, executive director of the Coastal First Nations. "We look forward to working with the Province to ensure a true and lasting reconciliation where life's opportunities for all children in British Columbia are equal."

"A new ferry terminal offers multiple benefits to Klemtu," said Chief Percy Starr. "It provides for a more consistent means of transportation service for our community members. Equally as important, it will also open the door for increased and economically-efficient development opportunities."

Through the protocol:
* $12.5-million provincial funding and $12.5 million federal stimulus funding will be provided to build a new, larger ferry terminal at Klemtu.
* An estimated 150 jobs will be created to build the new ferry terminal at Klemtu.
* A shared-decision process will be established for resource and land use that will create certainties for process and timelines in decision-making through the involvement of First Nations.
* The Coastal First Nations will receive a total of $3.2 million over six years to fund their participation in the shared-decision making process.
* The Province is including potential carbon offsets for the first time. As carbon offsets are determined, the Coastal First Nations will receive a portion of the carbon offsets within their traditional territories.
* An Alternative Energy Action Plan will be created by both parties to advance alternative energy projects on the central and north coast.
* A commitment on the part of the Province to work with the First Nations to ensure they receive an equitable portion of commercial recreation permits and tenures.

Through the New Relationship, B.C. and First Nations are achieving agreements that are resulting in positive change in communities around the Province. To view the full agreement, visit http://www.gov.bc.ca/arr/.

More details

The Province and Coastal First Nations have signed a Reconciliation Protocol containing the following components:

Klemtu Ferry Terminal
$25 million in joint federal/provincial funding to improve ferry access to Klemtu through the construction of a new ferry terminal in order to accommodate the Northern Expedition vessel. The ferry terminal will be a provincial capital asset.

The new Klemtu ferry terminal will be constructed at Wedge Rock, two km north of the existing terminal. The project will include a berth, ramp, vehicle compound and road improvements to the site. This project will create an estimated 150 jobs with construction completed by March 31, 2011.

Shared Decision Making
The agreement establishes a shared decision process for resource and land use that will create certainties for process and timelines in decision-making through the involvement of First Nations. Through the protocol, a decision matrix will be created that will identify the different decision types that are required in the administration of activities on the land base, and place them into differing levels of engagement, based on location and complexity of the decision. This process will ensure that First Nations have a meaningful role in decisions that are important to them.

In the first phase of implementation the parties will set priorities together for the following three sectors: forestry, Land Act decisions and commercial recreation.

Revenue Sharing
The Coastal First Nations will receive $200,000 this year and $600,000 annually for the next five years (for a total of $3.2 million) to fund participation in the decision making process.

Carbon Offset Sharing
The Province is agreeing to work with the Coastal First Nations to quantify the carbon offsets contained in the temperate rainforests of their traditional territories and to share a portion of future carbon offsets that the First Nations can then sell to generate revenue. All parties understand that it will take significant work to realize this element of the protocol, including the further development of a credible, regionally marketable and tradeable, carbon credit program.

Alternative Energy Plan
The parties have committed to create a plan to advance the development of alternative energy projects on the central and north coast and Haida Gwaii, which will provide economic and employment benefits for the Coastal First Nations.

Representatives from the Province, Coastal First Nations and industry will work together to prepare a plan for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources by June 30, 2010.

Commercial Recreation and Economic Opportunities in Conservancies
The Province and Coastal First Nations will work together to increase First Nation economic participation in conservancies and the tourism sector through the identification and issuance of permits and tenures.

Forest Sector Opportunities
The Province will fulfil its March 2009 commitment regarding additional volume and long-term tenures. This includes continuation of the unused volume under the original Forest and Range Agreements, new First Nations tenures and undercut volume.