The CRD Board, made up of representatives from the region's 13 municipalities and 3 Electoral Areas, has acknowledged that the lack of First Nations representation on the Board is a significant gap in regional governance. In an effort to "make the region whole", a Special Task Force on First Nations Engagement has been established, with the singular focus of reaching out to local Chiefs and Councils, to explore a framework for shared decision-making on matters of common interest.
The CRD Board understands that building strong relationships with First Nations begins with reconciliation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has identified 94 'calls to action" actions, of which 5 specifically focus on actions local government can do to contribute to this national imperative. A Board Motion (February 2016) has directed staff to make recommendations to the Board for how the CRD can act on those recommendations locally. Read more >>
The CRD Board has asked the Special Task Force to deliver Board training in aboriginal culture and specifically Coast Salish and Nuu-chah-nulth traditions and protocols. On June 11, 2016 at the First Peoples House at UVic, a Forum of Councils was held with a special focus on Indigenous Cultural Acumen Training. Further workshops for Directors and staff are being planned for the Fall of 2017.
The CRD provides a diverse range of over 200 services to member municipalities and First Nations governments. Types of service agreements the CRD has with First Nations range from water provision, wastewater treatment, fire protection, building inspection and animal control. The CRD seeks to ensure that any services contracted to First Nations are accountable, equitable and consistently delivered.
Stewardship of Parks
The CRD park system, made up of 13,000 hectares across 33 regional parks, is an important resource for local First Nations, for gathering food and medicines as well cultural and spiritual activities. Although the Douglas Treaty, of which most of the local Nations are signatories, ensures aboriginal peoples the right to 'hunt and fish as formally' on unoccupied lands, many of the gathering places were rendered off limits as a result of the extensive land transfer granted to Dunsmuir in exchange for building the E&N Railway in the 1880s. With very limited Crown land available to First Nations to exercize their Douglas Treaty rights, the CRD is working with First Nations to facilitate cultural and traditional use access agreements in Regional parks and the Leech Drinking Watershed lands.