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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

Executive Council receives new portfolios following the by-election 2022

Following the swearing-in of newly elected Councillor Brad Johnson, Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. announces new portfolios for Executive Council. 

Effective Tuesday, March 1, 2022, the elected Executive Council will hold their new portfolios as follows:

  • Economic Development Committee – John Jack
  • ACRD – John Jack
  • Finance Committee – Trevor Cootes 
  • External Affairs – Trevor Cootes 
  • Citizenship Committee – Edward R. Johnson 
  • Citizen Development and Services – Edward R. Johnson
  • Specific Claims – Edward R. Johnson
  • Business Development – Duane Nookemis
  • Lands & Natural Resources – Duane Nookemis
  • Housing and Infrastructure – Brad Johnson
  • Treaty Implementation Committee – Robert Dennis Sr., Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters), and Brad Johnson

 Under their new portfolios, Executive Council will hold its first meeting Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

Bamfield Main Road Surfacing Project is in the tender process and will begin soon

Prepared stockpile area at KM 52


On February 18, 2022, Huu-ay-aht First Nations announced that construction will begin in late March on the Bamfield Main Road Surfacing Project (BMRSP). It is currently in the tender process and on track for completion by the fall.

This next phase follows a year of preparation work and finalizing contracts. It includes ditch and culvert repairs and cleaning, placement, and compacting of 250,000 cubic metres of gravel, new roadside barriers, and new signage.

It was in September 2020 that the Province of B.C. announced they would partner with Huu-ay-aht to bring these upgrades to reality. Fast forward a year and a half, and the road improvements are finally happening.

“Over the years, too many lives have been lost travelling the road from Port Alberni to Anacla and Bamfield,” said Chief Robert Dennis. “We are pleased that Premier John Horgan took the time to drive the road in 2019 to see first hand how the poor conditions of the road were not only dangerous but an impediment to the economic and social health of our community. His decision to support the road improvements is a turning point for our community. A safer road will enable our tourism plans and make it easier for our citizens to return home.”

“Our number one focus is helping avoid another heartbreaking tragedy and bringing peace of mind to everyone who travels on Bamfield Road,” said Premier John Horgan. “I want to thank Chief Dennis and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations for their leadership as we work together to support reconciliation goals, create new economic opportunities, and most importantly, keep people safe. Partnerships like these help build a stronger B.C. for everyone.”

The completed tasks leading up to the tender include:
• Field Survey of the entire road corridor
• Design for the road, drainage, barriers, signing, seal coat, and pavement
• Geotechnical Investigation and Reporting
• Environmental Overview Report
• Construction Environmental Management Plan Framework
• Western Toad and Red-Legged Frog underpass design
• Concrete box underpasses are being constructed by the end of March
• Permits for gravel pits from the BC Government
• Three gravel pits have been investigated. Testing and pit design has been completed. One gravel pit is in full production, one is being cleared, and one is awaiting a final mining permit
• Six stockpile locations are being constructed. Two stockpile sites are ready with the others under development.
• Three gravel crushing contracts have been awarded and production at the Rayner Bracht pit and Dolman’s pit near km 0 is underway. Blenheim Pit crushing will begin shortly.

Construction of the road will progress into July 2022, and this is when the seal coat will begin. The entire 76 KM length of road will be seal coated and be completed by the end of September 2022.

For more information, contact: Amanda-Lee Cunningham Communications Manager, Huu-ay-aht First Nations 250-723-0100 ext. 256 | amanda.c@acunningham

View announcement: here

Huu-ay-aht First Nations confirms 33 per cent old growth remains and announces preliminary decision on Old Growth Deferrals

December 1, 2021 – Anacla, British Columbia – Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters) and Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. announce Huu-ay-aht First Nations has confirmed 33 per cent of old growth remain in their Ḥahuułi (Traditional Territory) and TFL 44.

The total productive forested area within the Hahuuli and TFL 44 is 153,773 hectares (ha), of which 51,240 ha, or 33 per cent, is old forest (greater than 250 years old).

Based on a review of maps provided by the provincial government to the Nation, Huu-ay-aht  First  Nations will continue to uphold our right to old-growth harvesting in four per cent of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) proposed deferral area in the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL 44. The Nation has decided on a preliminary basis to defer harvesting for a period of two years in areas that make up 96% of the TAP proposal for old growth deferrals, much of which is already protected under existing conservation measures or not planned for harvest in the next two years.

Beginning in 2023, Huu-ay-aht’s long-term stewardship decisions will be informed by the outcome of Huu-ay-aht’s two-year Hišuk ma c̕awak Integrated Resource Management Planning process.

“As a Modern Treaty Nation, Huu-ay-aht will decide how best to manage our lands and resources guided by our three Sacred Principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one),” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin. “We expect broad recognition and respect for our old growth two-year deferral decisions and our long-term forest and resource stewardship decisions.”

“We have now confirmed that 33 per cent, not three per cent, of our Ḥahuułi and TFL 44 is old growth,” said Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “By approving 96 per cent of the TAP old growth recommendation, much of which is already protected under existing conservation measures or not planned for harvest in the next two years, we are satisfied that sufficient old forest is protected, while we complete our two-year integrated resource management planning process and make our long-term forest and resource stewardship decisions.”

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For more information, contact:

Heather Thomson

Communications Manager, Huu-ay-aht First Nations

250-720-7776, heather.t@huuayaht.org


About Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Huu-ay-aht First Nations is an indigenous community located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is a part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, formerly called the Nootka. Huu-ay-aht is a party to the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, a modern treaty that grants its five member-nations constitutionally protected self-government as well as ownership, control, and law-making authority over their lands and resources. For more information, visit huuayaht.org.

Backgrounder

Huu-ay-aht preliminary determination Old Growth Deferrals proposed by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) for the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL 44

Huu-ay-aht has completed a preliminary review of two-year old growth deferrals proposed by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP)  for the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi (Territory) and TFL 44  (Huu-ay-aht beneficially owns 35 per cent of C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (TFL 44). Please refer to Table 1. 

The total productive forested area is 153,773 ha, of which 51,240 ha, or 33 per cent, is old forest (greater than 250 years old). TAP recommends that Huu-ay-aht approve a two-year deferral of old-growth harvesting in 14,754 ha, or 29 per cent, of that total old forest.

Based on maps provided to Huu-ay-aht by the provincial government, the TAP two-year deferral request has been compared to planned harvest areas within the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL44. 14,109 hectares of the 14,754 ha TAP deferral request (96 per cent) is not planned for harvest within the next two years. In many cases, harvesting is already not taking place because of existing conservation measures.

Huu-ay-aht has analyzed the remaining 645 ha of proposed deferrals (4 per cent of TAP request, or 0.4 per cent of total forested area), and has determined that implementation of those remaining deferrals would result in significant economic harm to Huu-ay-aht, local workers, Bamfield, and the Alberni Region. Because of how these proposed deferral areas are distributed, they put as much as 65 per cent of planned harvest volume over the next two years in serious jeopardy.

These deferrals would have an impact on small portions of many different harvest areas in a variety of ways, including making entire harvest areas uneconomic or inaccessible or making the deferred portion subject to forest health concerns such as windthrow.

TABLE  1 – OLD GROWTH DEFERRAL ANALYSIS

DescriptionḤahuułi & TFL 44 Area (ha)Percentages
Total Productive Forest Area153,773 ha100%
Total Old Forest  51,240 ha 33%
TAP Request for Two-Year Harvest Deferral  14,754 ha 29% of Total Old Forest
Portion of TAP Deferral Request not Planned for Harvest in two years, or in many cases forever  14,109 ha 96% of TAP Deferral Request
Portion of TAP Deferral Request which impacts planned harvest areas       645 ha4% of TAP Deferral Request
Potential drop in volume of annual harvest for next 2 years 65%

After giving this matter and all relevant circumstances careful consideration, Huu-ay-aht First Nations has made a determination to approve on a preliminary basis, for the next two years, 96 per cent of the TAP proposal for old growth deferrals.

However, on a preliminary basis, Huu-ay-aht First Nations does not approve the remaining 4 per cent of the TAP request for two-year deferrals for two main reasons:

  1. Huu-ay-aht is satisfied that sufficient old forest is protected without the additional 4 per cent old growth deferral, and
  2. Approving the remaining 4 per cent of the TAP deferral request would have a significant adverse impact on workers, earnings, and the Nation that goes far beyond any incremental ecological benefit.

It is important to note that this determination is preliminary in nature and is specific to the Huu-ay-aht. Huu-ay-aht does not speak for other Nations. As Huu-ay-aht proceeds with its own expert analysis to support its  final determination, the Nation may learn more about deferral options and current old growth protection measures on the Ḥahuułi and TFL 44 that reduce, increase, or otherwise change the amount of two-year old growth harvest deferral that Huu-ay-aht finally determines is necessary.  Huu-ay-aht expects to make a final determination on Huu-ay-aht deferrals by mid-January 2022.