Huu-ay-aht citizens will have more access to employment, skills training and community services following the creation of a multi-year Generations Fund that will provide immediate funding for community health and wellness programs and long-term support for Huu-ay-aht culture, environment, capacity building and economic development.
The initial unconditional contribution to the Fund, provided by Steelhead LNG over the course of the Feasibility phase of the proposed Project includes immediate funding for a community food truck program, a walking trail between Anacla and Bamfield, and the initial stages of development of a new program for Huu-ay-aht Children in Care. As the proposed Project progresses, the Fund will grow to provide resources for additional Huu-ay-aht programs and initiatives.
“We’re pleased to have secured this important funding for our people through our participation in the proposed LNG Project,” said Jeff Cook, Elected Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “Through significant community consultation, Huu-ay-aht citizens have identified issues and initiatives that are important to our people. Through this funding, we can have a real and immediate positive impact on the lives of our children and families, and can free up much-needed resources to better support our Ḥaw̓iiḥ (Hereditary Chiefs).”
Huu-ay-aht child protective services program
Through community consultation, led by the Huu-ay-aht government, citizens have identified that the health and wellness of Huu-ay-aht children, and providing them with safe, nurturing environments in which they will thrive is of utmost importance. The
Huu-ay-aht government has identified this as one of its highest priorities. As a result, it will use resources provided by the Generations Fund to develop its own agency and programs to assume responsibility for the foster care and welfare of Huu-ay-aht children from the Province of British Columbia.
“Nothing is more important than the health and welfare of our children,” said Cook. “There are many historical and ongoing issues that affect our ability to provide the best for our children, and there is no easy or quick fix. The most important fact, however, is that these are our children, and the best way to ensure they have the brightest and healthiest future possible, is to provide a Huu-ay-aht approach to their care, with input from our Ḥaw̓iiḥ, our elders and our people.”
Huu-ay-aht Fresh Food Program
One of the first community initiatives to be unveiled will be a fresh food distribution system called the Huu-ay-aht Fresh Food Program. The program will support
Huu-ay-aht families and improve the health of citizens through the delivery of nourishing food and practical food information. Each month, the program will deliver one free box of fresh fruits and vegetables and basic staples to approximately 120 Huu-ay-aht families in Anacla, Vancouver and Port Alberni, with a focus on families with children under 18, elders, and people on Social Assistance. The deliveries will be made in a new refrigeration truck that was purchased for the program this week. The truck will also be used to deliver traditional foods and food fish to Huu-ay-aht citizens.
Anacla-Bamfield walking trail
Through community consultation, Huu-ay-aht citizens and area residents have identified concerns regarding the safety of people walking between Anacla and Bamfield. In response to this concern, the Huu-ay-aht government is leading the development and construction of a safe pathway, allocating portions of the Generations Fund for the project. At this time, work on the path is focused on determining the best route between the two communities and securing the rights of way required, which currently pass through numerous properties including some held by unidentified landowners.
Employment for Huu-ay-aht citizens
To help ensure that employment opportunities within the Huu-ay-aht government and with Nation-owned enterprises are filled by Huu-ay-aht citizens, funding from the Generations Fund has been set aside to support citizens to transition into such jobs. Where Huu-ay-aht citizens have interest in current and new positions, the funding will be used to support job shadowing and internships so citizens can learn more about the position and whether or not it’s the right one for them. If it is, funding could then be used to provide the education and training required to fill that position.
Trades training for Huu-ay-aht citizens
To maximize potential employment opportunities at the proposed LNG Project for
Huu-ay-aht citizens, the Generations Fund will provide funding for 12 red seal trades training seats to Huu-ay-aht citizens.
By providing funding for a wide range of Huu-ay-aht government initiatives, the Generations Fund is freeing up much-needed resources that will be re-allocated to support the Nation’s Ḥaw̓iiḥ.
“For thousands of years, our Ḥaw̓iiḥ have guided our Nation and borne the tremendous responsibility of protecting our land and our people, and ensuring that our history, culture, traditions and values continue to thrive,” said Cook. “Thanks to this new funding, we can now provide an additional funding to ensure our Ḥaw̓iiḥ have the resources they need to carry out the important role they play in our Nation’s affairs.
“Through Treaty, we now have the freedom as a Nation to decide how best to manage our lands and derive economic benefits from them,” added Cook. “At this critical time, it is important for us to provide the training, education and funding our citizens need so they can develop their own individual capacity, pursue the careers they want, and support themselves and their families wherever they choose to live. The Generations Fund is an important part of that process.”
Together, Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Steelhead LNG are exploring developing an LNG Project with a land‐based natural gas liquefaction facility at Sarita Bay, 75 kms southwest of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. At the Huu-ay-aht First Nations People’s Assembly in November 2014, Huu-ay-aht citizens voted in favour of continuing to explore the proposed Project, which is now undergoing feasibility studies.
“Over the past few months, the Huu-ay-aht government and Huu-ay-aht citizens clearly identified the conditions that must guide the proposed Project for it to proceed,” said Nigel Kuzemko, CEO Steelhead LNG. “The Generations Fund will help us address many of those conditions together and will help provide the Huu-ay-aht with the funding and internal resources they need to carry out their Nation’s strategic plan.
“In addition, as our relationship has developed, Huu-ay-aht citizens continue to honour us by inviting us into their homes and community events and sharing their traditions and culture with us. The Generations Fund will help support the development of community infrastructure and programs to ensure Huu-ay-aht cultural practices and events are recognized, respected and encouraged.”