Victoria, BC– The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board took an important step forward this week in building trust and promoting ongoing collaboration with First Nations governments, when it passed a motion to establish a Special Task Force on First Nations.
Building on the previous Board’s priority of improving relations with First Nations neighbouring governments, the new task force will meet with First Nations leaders to explore their interest in and discuss options for bringing their governments into the CRD governance and decision-making framework.
“This initiative underscores the CRD Board’s commitment to building bridges with our First Nations partners,” said CRD Board Chair Nils Jensen. “I look forward to the new opportunity to actively seek out areas of common interest with each unique nation and move towards reconciliation, mutual recognition and sharing of infrastructure and services.
The Special Task Force will be led by CRD Director Marianne Alto (Victoria), who will be joined in her new role by CRD Directors Maja Tait (Sooke) and Ryan Windsor (Central Saanich).
“The absence of First Nations participation in regional decision-making is something of which we are keenly aware,” said Alto. “Although First Nations interact primarily with the Federal government and by extension, the Provincial government, the CRD recognizes the importance of creating meaningful First Nations participation in regional governance. While we don’t have a lot of experience working together at a regional government level, I believe we have the right intentions, I know we have the support of the CRD Board, and the necessary resources to navigate the complexities of this initiative.”
The first priority of the Special Task Force is reaching out to First Nations political counterparts and listening to their ideas and concerns.
“Through our role in providing regional and shared local government services, the CRD wants to ensure First Nations aspirations are respected, considered and supported,“ said Alto. “Key to this is taking the time to get to know one another, listening carefully, taking responsibility for past actions and following through on our commitments one step at a time.”
Over the course of the year, the Special Task Force will report back to the CRD Governance Committee and provide recommendations for actions to the CRD Board, with the goal of bringing First Nations neighbours to the decision-making table.
The CRD is a local government that delivers 200+ regional, sub-regional and local services for residents of the region which includes 13 municipalities and three electoral areas within 2370 square kilometres on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24 member Board of Directors, the CRD is working to serve the public, and build a vibrant, livable and sustainable region.
The capital region spans the Traditional Territory of approximately 22 First Nations, of which 11 have Reserve lands and 9 have settlement populations made up of 4142 members. The CRD, through its Aboriginal Initiatives Division, will provide support to this Task Force.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications