A delegation from Huu-ay-aht First Nations will join other leadership at this week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) in Whistler this week.
UBCM is an opportunity for provincial leaders to discuss topics of interest on a local level. This year Chief Councillor Robert R. Dennis Sr., Councillor Sheila Charles, and Councillor Trevor Cootes will attend the meeting on September 12 and 13.
“Because we are a self-governing nation, Huu-ay-aht is one of the first First Nations to attend independently,” explains Chief Dennis. “We will be present at the table, sitting down as equals.”
The delegation has a number of meetings set up in advance. The Chief Councillor will sit down with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selena Robinson, to discuss our housing program. He will also meet with Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena to make a case for chip-sealing the Port Alberni-Bamfield Road.
“UBCM allows local government to coordinate with other provincial leaders on the initiatives that are important to us as a Nation,” Dennis said. “We have a unique understanding of what is important to our community and our citizens, and through this meeting we get to sit down, face-to-face, with the people making decisions that will affect all of us.”
Councillor Charles will meet with Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Families. This is an important connection for Huu-ay-aht given the ministry’s recent commitment to accelerate funding to implement the Social Services Panel Recommendations. This will be a chance for Huu-ay-aht to officially express its appreciation to the minister.
Councillor Cootes is meeting with Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, to share Huu-ay-ath’s ideas for revitalizing forestry in the Alberni. He will also share how our forestry guiding principles will guide our discussions with Western Forest Products.
Huu-ay-aht Councillor John Jack is also in Whistler for UBCM. He is there representing the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District as Huu-ay-aht representative on ACRD and its current chair.