Bamfield Marine Science Centre and Huu-ay-aht First Nations celebrate the grand opening of the Wastewater Treatment Plant

Bamfield Marine Science Centre (BMSC) and Huu-ay-aht First Nations marked the grand opening of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) on Friday, April 22, 2022.

This is a project that has been in the works for over 10 years and marked a wonderful day to celebrate.  

In 2010, Huu-ay-aht First Nations first conducted feasibility studies to identify where they would construct the WWTP. During this time, BMSC was also looking for options to replace its sewage system. Eight years later, BMSC and Huu-ay-aht signed a memorandum of understanding on April 26, 2018 and chose BMSC lands as the new plant’s location.

Indigenous Services Canada committed $3.6 million, leaving the remaining $4.4 million needed to complete the project. With no other levels of government to help support the project, Huu-ay-aht invested the remaining amount to complete the project.

The $8 million project broke ground back in October 2020 and had its first test on March 17, 2022.

“What better day, then Earth Day, to celebrate the grand opening of the wastewater treatment plant” Said Huu-ay-aht Councillor, Brad Johnson, “Having this plant means less raw sewage being pumped into our local waters and will bring many benefits to the environment, for present and future generations in the Anacla and Bamfield Community.”

Councillor Brad Johnson explained that he recently joined Huu-ay-aht Executive Council and thanks everyone involved and all the hard work they contributed.

Members from the University of Victoria were in attendance, President Kevin Hall, Vice President Indigenous, Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas, and Associate Vice President Financial Planning & Operations, Kristi Simpson, to address the attendees.

“We are thankful to Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the community for the wonderful learning environment and everything you do for our students who attend BMSC” said UVIC President, Kevin Hall, “Education is a game changer, and our students always return from BMSC feeling fulfilled”

Kevin Hall explained that they would love to see Huu-ay-aht citizens come to UVIC to attend school and with that, they have a scholarship available to Huu-ay-aht First Nations. More details about the scholarship to come.

The plant goes through three phases to produce effluent that is suitable for discharge to the surrounding environment or an intended reuse application, thereby preventing water pollution from raw sewage discharges.

The outflow from BMSC was extended from 150 m to 350 m to service the new plant. This will effectively get the clean effluent discharged out into Trevor Channel rather than the mouth of Bamfield Inlet.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant currently services the subdivision on Nookemus Rd. There are plans to have BMSC connected next, very soon.

“On this Earth day, it is fitting to remember that oceans are a planetary life-support system, but only if there are healthy ecosystems” said BMSC Director, Sean Rogers, “A modern wastewater treatment plant will help clean the environment and keep our oceans healthy for generations to come. It feels amazing to have worked together for this common goal that will build a stronger, healthier community.”

Not only has the plant set a cleaner future for the Bamfield community, but it has also created two new jobs, a primary operator, and a backup operator. The position is yet to be filled.   

For more information:
Amanda-Lee Cunningham
Communications Manager, Huu-ay-aht First Nations
amanda.c@huuayaht.org | 250-720-7776

Background Story:

Huu-ay-aht and Bamfield Marine Science Centre Break ground for Wastewater Treatment Plant

Huu-ay-aht brings Coastal Nations together to discuss Old Growth

On April 28, 2022, Huu-ay-aht First Nations and C̕awak ʔqin Forestry hosted the Anacla Old Growth Summit bringing coastal nations together to discuss information on their stewardship and resource management planning and decision-making processes.

The Summit was led by MC, and Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin speaker, Wišqii (Robert Dennis Jr.).

To open the meeting, Wišqii performed a prayer chant. He explained that the chant is of gratitude, that every day you are going to hold close to you what you value and what you cherish, including family, community, and things like vast resources that surround you.

Representing Huu-ay-aht at the front of the room were, Ḥaw̓iiḥ Council (hereditary chiefs), Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin Derek Peters (head hereditary chief), Jeff Cook, Darlene Nookemis, Larry Johnson (sitting in for Tommy Happynook), Zelda Clappis (sitting in for Andrew Clappis), and Alec Frank. From Executive Council, Chief Robert Dennis Sr., and Council members Trevor Cootes, Edward R. Johnson, and Brad Johnson.

“Ḥaw̓iiḥ Chiefs are here forever, their seats will never disappear,” said Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr.. “We know what the principles of our hereditary leaders are and that’s the biggest advantage we have as Huu-ay-aht First Nations, the ḥaw̓iiḥ will guide how we manage our forests.”

The Summit was conducted in accordance with Huu-ay-aht’s Three Sacred Principles of: ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), Hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one). These three sacred principles are what guide Huu-ay-aht for present and future generations.

“These are strong values that are held by our chief houses and that is something we have never gone away from,” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin Derek Peters. “We are in a historic time where we are starting to merge these traditional ways on how we manage our resources. It is through our resources, that we survived. We still need, we still harvest, and we still thrive off our territory today.”

Huu-ay-aht had the privilege of hearing from the Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, who joined the summit virtually to address the attendees.  

“We are continuing to support indigenous communities and respect the decision and right titleholders who have made it clear that they don’t support any more old-growth deferrals in their territory,” said Minister Katrine Conroy. “It’s so encouraging to see nations like Huu-ay-aht First Nations, taking these steps to manage the important forestry values for your community based on the best available scientific data and local indigenous knowledge.”

Following Minister Conroy was Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) President Judith Sayers.

“It is time for First Nations to manage their own lands according to their own values,” said NTC President Judith Sayers. “We have seen Huu-ay-aht assert their title, assert their rights and assert their management, they’ve shown the world that they can do so.”

Presentations on stewardship and resource management planning and decision-making processes were made by Chief Mark Point of Skowkale First Nations, Chief Don Svanvik and Mike Green of ‘Namgis First Nations, Shannon Janzen of C̕awak ʔqin Forestry, and Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin Derek Peters and Marina Rayner of Huu-ay-aht First Nations.

To view the Anacla Old Growth Summit recording, please visit the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ed6R5wU2zg

Anacla Old Growth Summit handout is available for download here: Anacla Old Growth booklet

Honourable Minister Katrine Conroy announced as a keynote speaker for Anacla Old Growth Summit

Huu-ay-aht First Nations and C̕awak ʔqin Forestry are pleased to announce Honourable Minister Katrine Conroy as a keynote speaker at the Anacla Old Growth Summit on April 28, 2022.

As the B.C. Minister of Forests, Katrine Conroy is responsible for the stewardship of provincial Crown land and ensures the sustainable management of forest, wildlife, water, and other land-based resources. The Ministry works with Indigenous and rural communities to strengthen and diversify their economies.

Along with Minister Katrine Conroy, there will also be presentations from ‘Namgis First Nation, Skowkale First Nation, Huu-ay-aht First Nations and C̕awak ʔqin Forestry.

“The time is now for First Nations to take back responsibility for the stewardship of the land and lead the decision making processes when it comes to how to plan for and manage our natural resources,” said Robert J. Dennis Sr., Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “This Summit will enable sovereign Nations to share the important work they are doing and stewardship decisions they are making for the benefit of their members or citizens, their lands and waters, and all British Columbians. Our land is our culture and it is our stewardship decisions that count.”

The summit is by invite only, but for those wishing to attend, a live stream has been set up for anyone to watch online: huuayaht.org/huu-ay-aht-old-growth-summit-2022

View full release here: Press Release

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District celebrates 10th anniversary since Huu-ay-aht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ joined the Board as full voting members

Huu-ay-aht Council Member and ACRD chair, John Jack and Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr.

On April 12, 2012, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) made history in British Columbia by becoming the first regional district to include First Nations representatives as full voting members to their board.
The ACRD marked this important anniversary today, celebrating 10 years of working together with the first two nations to join – Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ.

View full details here: Press Release

C̕awak ʔqin Forestry and Huu-ay-aht First Nations Announce Anacla Old-Growth Summit Rescheduled for April 28, 2022

March 9, 2022 – Anacla, British Columbia – C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership) and Huu-ay-aht First Nations announce April 28, 2022 as the new date for the Anacla Old-Growth Summit. Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters, Head Hereditary Chief, Huu-ay-aht First Nations) and Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis, Sr. will host the Summit which will take place in Anacla, B.C. C̕awak ʔqin Forestry and Huu-ay-aht Forestry Limited Partnership will participate as co-chairs. This Summit was originally planned for November 2021 but was deferred due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Summit will bring together 50 coastal Indigenous nations to share information on their stewardship and resource management planning and decision making processes. These Indigenous-led models not only cover all values such as old growth, fisheries, culture and climate change, but incorporate the research and advice of leading experts that Indigenous governments have retained in forestry, fisheries and ecosystem management.

Together, these processes provide clear Indigenous-led direction to provincially-legislated procedures on forest landscape plans, old-growth management and on-the-ground operational planning, while ensuring long-lasting socio-economic, environmental and cultural benefits for everyone across the area.

“As sovereign nations, we know how much old growth is left and we know the key priority is planning for what happens in the long term,” said Robert J. Dennis Sr., Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “There has been much debate in recent months over how much old growth is left and how much is being deferred for the next two years. That debate is over. This Summit will enable sovereign Nations to share the important work they are doing and stewardship decisions they are making for the benefit of their members or citizens, their lands and waters, and all British Columbians. Our land is our culture and it is our stewardship decisions that count.”

In stark contrast to public conversations to date, this Summit will reflect the depth and broad range of professionals, academics and subject matter experts who advise sovereign Nations. It will highlight the important ways in which sovereign nations across the coast are already drawing on the wisdom and expertise of their communities, their partners, and the experts they have retained to exercise their inherent stewardship rights as Indigenous governments.

“As sovereign nations we know the lands and waters better than anyone, and it is our responsibility to balance the many competing interests, not third parties and environmental groups,” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters), Head Hereditary Chief, Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “Stewardship and old growth decisions for present and future needs of nations and the ecosystems on their lands are to be made in a manner that benefits all. This is a move away from endless, unproductive debates amongst experts, environmental groups, industry, and protesters about how much old growth is left and how much needs to be protected for the next two years.”

The Summit will provide an opportunity to introduce the Indigenous Witwak Guardians who have the important work of protecting, monitoring and enhancing C̕awak ʔqin Forestry operations. Their role is to bring awareness to all invited land users on traditions and protocols one must adhere to while visiting or working in the area including TFL 44 and other Huu-ay-aht tenures.

Anacla Old-Growth Summit organizers will provide information on the agenda, guests and speakers as they become available.

View full press release here: click here