Bamfield and Huu-ay-aht celebrate idea of a bright future together

Saturday was a time of celebration and connection for Huu-ay-aht citizens and the residents of Bamfield.

Four months after closing on a deal that saw Huu-ay-aht take over ownership of 11 properties in Bamfield Inlet, the Nation invited everyone to join in a community celebration. Close to 150 people gathered together on April 23 at the Motel and the Rix Centre for Ocean Discovery.

“I’m happy to be able to celebrate this big step for our nation. It’s an historic day for all of us, for this whole community, both Bamfield and the Huu-ay-aht tribe,” Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin said at the ribbon cutting at the newly purchased Motel in Bamfield. “It’s very fitting that we wanted to come down here and celebrate with the Bamfield community, because we’re one community.”

ƛiišin acknowledged the importance of involving the Bamfield residents, given that all of the properties Huu-ay-aht purchased are in their community. Huu-ay-aht hopes that by purchasing these parcels, which include hotels, gas bars, marina, retail opportunities, pub, airport and development opportunities, the Nation will help breathe new life into the West Coast community.

“We’re really proud of that step for our nation,” he said. “It’s a growth in the right direction.”

He said that, although there are many differences between the close communities, “We’re the First Nations village that lives just three miles away. We’re a nation that’s never left here, and we’re never going to leave our homeland.”

ƛiišin stressed that Huu-ay-aht has a connection to the land and cares deeply about the future of the Bamfield area, as well as their traditional territory. He acknowledged that many Bamfield residents probably feel the same way.

Following the ribbon cutting, Huu-ay-aht hosted a luncheon at the Rix Centre. The atmosphere was positive, and you could feel the pride of a Nation in the room.

Councillor Connie Waddell spoke on behalf of executive council. She said it is an exciting, historic day, with Huu-ay-aht citizens and community residents gathered together to celebrate.

“Our goal was to bridge the communities, and I think today is a huge step in doing that.” she said. “As you know, I grew up here, and that’s why it’s emotional. I’m a Huu-ay-aht citizen, and I’m a Bamfield citizen, and that’s why I say today, we are all one citizen. I hold my hands up to all of you today. Thank you very much on behalf of executive council.”

AFN National Chief says that Federal Budget is a significant step in closing the gap for First Nations

The federal budget is a significant step in closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations peoples and Canadians and beginning the process of reconciliation, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says.

“The budget begins to address decades of underfunding and neglect, which have perpetuated a growing gap in the quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “This budget invests in important priorities for First Nations and all Canadians. Investments in housing, clean water, education, and child welfare will bring long-needed relief for those living in third world conditions, and build a stronger economy for everyone.”

The 2016 federal budget unveiled today is an historic $8.4 billion over 5 years in investments in Indigenous issues. It has committed to eliminate the 2% cap. It also allocates investments in First Nations Education; Infrastructure and Housing; Green Infrastructure on Reserve and clean drinking Water; First Nations child and family services; Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy; Aboriginal Languages Initiative; Health; Justice; Fishing and Environment. The federal budget also commits to engage with First Nations on a new long-term fiscal relationship.

“Creating the conditions for First Nations peoples to succeed, whether they live in the north, on reserve or in urban areas, is the best economic stimulus plan for Canada,” said National Chief Bellegarde.  “It will add billions to the economy and save billions more in social costs while creating a stronger, more just and prosperous country for us all.”

Watch the webinar: “First Nations Social Innovation and Social Finance; First Nation Access to Credit”

On Tuesday, March 22  at 1:00 pm (EDT) The Assembly of First Nations will be hosting a webinar entitled “First Nations Social Innovation and Social Finance;  First Nation Access to Credit”, with speakers from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and Forrest Green, a Licensed Credit Bureau.  Highlighted are invited testimonials by partnering First Nations and First Nation financial organizations. The following have been invited: Pic River First Nation,  the Atlantic Policy Congress, Tribal Whi-Chi-Way-Win Capital Corporation (TWCC) and the Aboriginal Savings Corporation of Canada (ABSCAN)

About this Webinar:
Join us for this webinar as speakers discuss First Nation exclusion from the credit rating system, its impact on borrowing and the implications for economic development, employment, housing  and access to capital for First Nation individuals, corporations and governments.  A series of early adopters of the initiative will discuss First Nation community, political and corporate perspectives on this issue.

To join the webinar on Tuesday, March 22nd, click on the link below:
https://livestream.com/afn/fnaccesstocredit.

About the Speakers
Randy Jenkins  is a Senior Analyst with the Office of the Indian Registrar in the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.  He formally held positions as Senior Economic Analyst within the Community Infrastructure Branch and Senior Advisor within the Lands Branch where the credit initiative was first developed.

Blair McMurren is Director of Social Innovation in the Strategic and Service Policy Branch at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), where he is responsible for policy development as well as outreach and engagement related to the Government of Canada’s commitments to explore the potential of social finance.  He has recently helped to launch an Innovation Lab that will develop and test innovative solutions to policy, program, and service delivery challenges across the ESDC portfolio, in collaboration with other emerging public innovation hubs and labs.

Murray Rowe Junior is the owner and President of Forrest Green registered credit bureau that is partnered with TransUnion a Consumer Credit Reporting Agency and Dun & Bradstreet a Global Business Credit Bureau.  For over 20 years, Murray has been supporting private and public sector clients by implementing technology solutions using credit reporting agency data, secure web portals, training, eLearning, automated workflow and intelligent documents. Murray has provided expert testimony to the House of Commons and Senate on credit issues impacting Indigenous Peoples.

Invited:  
Garland Moses, a member of the Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation, is employed as a Capital Housing Manager and is charged with the responsibilities of Capital and Housing responsibilities. Over the past twenty years, Garland has brought improvement to a new Water Treatment Plant which is currently extracting its water supply from ground source that is being treated with slow sand with an ozonation treatment system. In addition, Garland has assisted in the development of a new Daycare centre located in the community which is now known as Children and Family Learning Centre.  To support the overall need in wellness of the community and the surrounding area, Garland has been instrumental in the capital development of the Holistic Treatment Centre, the Biibaaban Healing Lodge. His latest support to the community infrastructure is the completion of a new office to support the Anishinabek Police Service. With the assistance of the Housing Committee support by our leadership and management team, the housing program has grown up to 160 residential units which includes a Senior Complex as well as a Six Complex which was recently completed in March 2010.  With the completion of the Six Plex, the Housing Program has completed a major part of the Ojibways of the Pic River Ten Year completion which addresses the need to construct up to forty residential units. Today, along with the Home Improvement Program, which has completed renovations to nineteen of existing residential structures, another eighteen units are currently in process and are slated for completion by the end of March 2011.  Garland was involved in the genesis of this initiative and continues to work through access to credit in the area of housing in Pic River.

John Paul is the Executive Director of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  Taking direction from the Atlantic Chiefs through frequent All Chiefs Forums and Executive Chiefs Meetings, Mr. Paul provides policy analysis and strategic advice on a wide range of policy issues facing First Nations in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec. The APC Secretariat’s mandate is to research, analyze and develop alternatives to federal policies affecting its member First Nation communities. Mr. Paul has a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies and received his Master of Public Administration in Financial Management from Halifax’s Dalhousie University in 1982. A dedicated advocate for First Nations, Mr. Paul has worked toward positive change for First Nations communities in diverse policy areas for more than 25 years.

Chief Shining Turtle has been the Chief of Whitefish River First Nation for 11 years and is family man with a strong desire to help his Community move forward. As an Engineer by trade, the Chief has helped his Community secure over 30-million dollars in new infrastructure funding; his drive and determination is extraordinary. Chief Shining Turtle’s education includes Bachelor of Engineering from Lakehead University, Diploma of Technology from Seneca College, a Technical Leadership Certificate from the University of Florida, and a Water Systems Supply Certificate from California State University.

Jean Vincent, is the Vice-Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat First Nation.  For the past 22 years, Chief Vincent has been the President and General Manager of the Native Commercial Credit Corporation (SOCCA), which provides commercial financing to Quebec Aboriginal-controlled businesses in the start-up or expansion phase.  He is also President and General Manager of the Aboriginal Savings Corporation of Canada (ABSCAN) offering Aboriginal peoples corporate bonds adapted to their needs; and financing in the form of secured loans in the real estate, institutional and commercial sectors. ABSCAN was incorporated on October 21, 2005 under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act to serve as a fund-gathering medium offering Aboriginal peoples control over their economic development.

Brenda Zurba is the Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Development for Tribal Wi-Chi-Way-Win Capital Corporation (TWCC), a Winnipeg-based Aboriginal Capital Corporation. She brings 17 years of experience in marketing, sales, sales management and executive leadership as well as a post-secondary education in psychology, commerce and marketing. Brenda was employed with a publicly traded, multi-billion dollar organization for more than 10 years and led a nationally specialized team that consulted with small businesses across Canada to develop their annual and semi-annual marketing strategies. Prior to joining TWCC, Brenda served as the National Sales and Marketing Director for Telpay Incorporated, where she managed customer support, marketing operations, as well as multi-channel sales of 24 million transactions worth $14 billion annually. Brenda is a designated member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association, which is a national institute that provides guidelines and professional standards in the sales and marketing profession. At the 2013 Social Enterprise World Forum in Calgary, Brenda was a speaker on the “Building Indigenous Social Enterprise” panel.

Huu-ay-aht moves forward with plans for new businesses

With tourist season fast approaching, the Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation is focused on ensuring the new businesses the Nation purchased in January are ready to welcome guests.

The priority heading into spring is to get the turn-key businesses operational in a way that reflects Huu-ay-aht’s style, culture and values. The first step was hiring Bobby Toor as the new property manager. He will work closely with HDC’s General Manager Charlie Clappis and the existing staff to assess what is required to bring the motel and pub up to standard.

Bobby is moving to Bamfield, along with his wife and two young children. They are currently living in Vancouver, and Bobby comes from a management background, having operated a facility that encompassed sports, fitness, bar and grill.

No major construction is planned for any of the properties, but they will all get a facelift to help make them more welcoming and inviting.

“We want to be fully operational by tourism season,” explained Gary Wilson, CEO of HDC. “But we want to ensure we reflect the pride Huu-ay-aht has in its culture and traditions in all of our businesses.”

One of the first jobs Bobby will take on in his new role will be to set up infrastructure to offer administration, booking and other aspects of hospitality. This will mean exploring what technology is needed to bring the systems up to date and developing an online presence for the businesses.

This year the Group of Businesses will offer a central location for all of its bookings, in addition to online reservations. If anyone wants to stay at the motels or the Pachena Bay Campground, they will be able to visit the float house on the government dock to get all of the information they need. Bobby will be working with Esther Jackway, manager of The Market, to make sure the float house is ready in time.

Bobby and Charlie will also work with existing staff and begin the process of recruiting new people for the season. Many of the positions that will be filled for the busy season are already posted (http://hfndevelopmentlp.org/job-board/).

One of the biggest changes that residents of the area will notice is that HDC will be moving the marine fuel station float assets from Ostrom’s Marine to the Kingfisher dock.

“This is the first point of contact, so it makes sense,” Gary explained. “We already have a few competitors for fuel, so we need to consolidate the Ostrom fuel assets with our Kingfisher operations, so that we are more competitive.”

He said moving the dock will also mean there will be a small convenience store on the water, since it is already part of the fuel station. Considering HDC recently acquired the assets, Gary still does not know exactly what the small store will sell, but he believes it will likely stock items for fishers and boaters.

The Kingfisher, the Bamfield Trails Lodge (Bamfield Motel) and the pub were all determined to be structurally sound and the electrical is up to code. This means the repairs will be aesthetic ones, such as a fresh coat of paint, finishing’s, plus carvings and art from Huu-ay-hat citizens, and in the future we may incorporate a traditional house post to highlight the culture.

Gary said this is an exciting time for Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Although many of the jobs are seasonal, he pointed out that the new businesses will create many opportunities for Citizens in terms of professional development in hospitality industry.

“This is an opportunity for recruiting, training and developing Huu-ay-aht People to help us fully resource our own businesses for peak season.”

He added that these seasonal jobs will get Citizens working, and then HDC can try to find other openings for them during the slower months. Gary also hopes the new businesses will offer Citizens with experience in hospitality a reason to come home.

“We want to be in full swing by the end of March, but first comes the planning stages,” Gary said. “In the next month, HDC will be doing business and strategic planning sessions that will help create a vision for the whole organization.”

HDC also has a contest running to help them name the motel and pub. For more details, check out this link: logo name contest poster

HFN Forestry seeks feedback on stewardship plan

Huu-ah-aht Forestry Limited Partnership is required by the government to invite the public and any stakeholders to review and make comments to the HFN Forest Stewardship Plan 2016-2021 (consolidated to Amendment #4). A comment sheet has been added to the binder for your convenience. You can also comment on the HFN Group of Businesses Website at http://hfndevelopmentlp.org/hfn-forestry-lp
What is a Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP)?
In order to harvest timber on land belonging to the provincial government, known as Crown Land, HFN Forestry as the forest licensee must demonstrate to the government how they will manage the landbase, including other important values like fish habitat, water quality, biodiversity, wildlife, visual impacts, and cultural heritage resources. In this way, the FSP is very similar to a rule book.
For example, one government objective states that HFN Forestry must protect biodiversity at a cutblock level by leaving wildlife trees. So, the FSP details the definition of wildlife tree, where the wildlife trees must be left in the cutblock, and how many wildlife trees (in hectares) must be left for biodiversity.
Another government objective is for conservation, or if necessary, the protection of cultural heritage resources. The FSP states that HFN Forestry must consult with the First Nations regarding their traditional territory.
The FSP is a landscape level plan ie. prepared for a large area that includes over 12,000 hectares. Therefore, it needs to be very general in nature and not specific to a particular cutblock or even a geographic area. For administrative reasons, the FSP has been divided into three Forest Development Units (FDUs). On the map they are shown as FDU 1 (K3N-Community Forest Agreement), FDU 2 (N1A- First Nations Woodland Licence) and FDU 3 (Bamfield Huu-ay-aht Community Forest Licence).

More details are available from the following documents:

Backgrounder on HFN Stewardship Plan 2016-2021

HFN Forest Stewardship Plan 2016-2021

Map of HFN Forest Stewardship Plan

For questions or additional information please contact: Donna Underwood, RPF 250-586-0200 ext 206 or dunderwood@meridianforest.ca.