Taking care of Huu-ay-aht’s ḥahuułi for future generations is a key concern for citizens. Executive Council has listened and will implement three projects to enhance, restore, and protect parts of the Traditional Territory.
In response to the concerns voiced at the People’s Assembly, Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis and Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters) re-engaged with Steelhead LNG with a focus on key accommodation measures. This included watershed restoration, emergency measure related to the proposed LNG facility, and a reclamation fund.
“In the position I hold with my Nation, speaking on behalf of our Ḥaw̓iiḥ Council, we are responsible for caring for our ḥahuułi,” explains Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin. “Part of that is generating wealth in a positive way so that we have the funds to properly care for, protect, and enhance our territory. By listening to our citizens and negotiating terms based on what they care about, we are respecting our lands and our citizens.”
After a successful round of negotiations, Executive Council is happy to report that, if citizens vote 65 per cent or more in favour of moving forward with this project, the following three concerns will be addressed.
- Huu-ay-aht and Steelhead LNG have agreed to put an additional $7.9 million aside to support restoration, enhancement work and jobs on the Sarita, Sugsaw, and Pachena Rivers. This will take place over the next three years, starting in May 2017.
- A legally enforceable commitment has been reached with SLNG to have a large rescue/salvage tug as part of the project fleet in Sarita. This tug will be available to come to the aid of and tow any LNG shipping carrier that may experience a problem. It will be capable of carrying out these tasks even in the extreme marine weather conditions that are not uncommon to the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
- Finally, Huu-ay-aht and Steelhead will established a dedicated decommissioning and reclamation fund of up to $250 million. This will ensure that the proposed LNG site is fully restored when operations end in the territory.
As a treaty nation, Executive Council acknowledges the fact that in order to build a strong resilient Nation, it must find sources of revenue. For this reason, in 2014, they entered into negotiations with Steelhead LNG to develop an LNG facility. Such a facility would offer financial opportunities for the Nation that would make projects like these feasible.
These decisions are based on promises made to citizen in the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. Demonstrating ʔiisaak for our ḥahuułi means making careful decisions with regard to the sustainable use of our resources in a way that meets the needs of our people and families. Our lands and waters have fed, clothed, and sustained our people since time immemorial and our conservation of these resources will ensure that this continues for generations to come.