REPORTING · 18th June 2014
Christy Clark was in Kitimat on Tuesday, June 17th to make an announcement on the old Kitimat General Hospital Grounds. Representatives of the District of Kitimat and the Haisla First Nations were there. Also present was MLA Andrew Wilkinson, the Provincial Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizen Services who was the Master of Ceremonies.
Sammy Robinson was present to provide a prayer of welcome. The Spirit of the Kitlope Danced and then Christy Clark took the stage. She expressed she was pleased with the work that the Haisla Leadership do for their community and the community of Kitimat and thanked them, and Mayor Joanne Monaghan for the work they do.
“This site is really about nation building, it’s about community building and it’s about partnerships. This will allow the Haisla, this transfer of land, to commercially develop this piece of property and that’s going to mean huge opportunities in this community. It’s going to open up economic growth. It’s going to mean a big benefit to Kitimat and the entire surrounding region, on this piece of land that has sat empty for far too long,” said Clark.
Clark expressed they were assisting the region through a million dollars in grant money to help support the growth of the region. “So you are ready to deal with the challenges, the good questions, the good problems that growth will necessarily bring. A part of that has meant opening our doors. Opening our doors to First Nations and the Haisla we found were good and ready to walk through that door,” said Clark.
She stated they were making investments to make sure British Columbians were first in line for the jobs which are becoming available. The government is also working with industry and investors to make sure they are welcome in BC.
Chief Councillor Ellis Ross told the people who were gathered this was about trying to regain what they have lost, reconciliation and developing a future for the young people who need a job.
“We shouldn’t be begging for opportunities in our own territory. This is a small chunk of land that we’re talking about here today but this is symbolic of what the Haisla want. We want to be included and we want to be put in a position where we can determine our own destiny, on our own terms, without answering to anybody,” said Ross.
He expressed the times were changing, the Aboriginal people were sitting at the table and they expect to be there. This development would benefit all people.
The Mayor of Kitimat, Joanne Monaghan was the next to speak.
“It is with great pleasure that Council and I, and the citizens of Kitimat are witness to a renewed relationship with our neighbours, the Haisla. For the past couple of years we have worked on an agreement that sees certainty on this land. Certainty of ownership, certainty of development, certainty of jobs and certainty which is the first of many steps that will bring our communities closer together,” said Mayor Joanne Monaghan
She stated that Kitimat is going through economic growth and when the development is done, the District and the Haisla would still be here. Monaghan was happy to see the relationship with the Haisla renewed and thanked the government in recognizing the importance of the day’s announcement.
“Not only have we renewed our relationship with the Haisla, we are also strengthening ours with the Province,” said Monaghan.
According to Ross, there will be three phases to this development. The first will be a Hotel / Condominium. The Haisla are looking at putting in a Hotel, Shopping centre and restaurant. Monaghan wanted to see a conference centre which features the Haisla artistic style included in the buildings. Ross hopes to break ground next Spring.
Comment by JT on 20th June 2014
More racist BS. Why is reverse racism allowed to continue? One race profiting over another, based on race, is racist. Period. I can't explain what happened in the past. I can only discuss the present. This can't continue.