Malahat band gets two chunks of land in pre-treaty deal

Still no treaty for Cowichan’s southernmost First Nation.

But yesterday the provincial government announced a step in that direction.

The Malahat Nation signed an Incremental Treaty Agreement Tuesday with the provincial government that provides the band with two parcels of land in the south Shawnigan area.

“Our Nation and our citizens look forward to this great opportunity of regaining control of some of our lands,’’ said Malahat Nation Chief Michael Harry in a media statement. “We look forward to the ability to carry out the Nation’s economic development initiatives based on our long-term strategic economic development plans.

The ITA signing leads to a 64-hectare parcel being transferred to the band immediately. A second 120-hectare parcel adjacent to the other one will be transferred once an agreement-in-principle is signed under the B.C. treaty process.

The transferred lands will be subject to provincial and federal laws as well as local government zoning and taxation.

According to the announcement, in addition to the land, the arrangement will also provide “economic development and employment opportunities.”

But Aboriginal Relations ministry spokesperson Robin Platts was unable to provide any further detail as to the nature of those opportunities and Harry was not available for comment.

In the release, he stated the signing is the beginning of achieving some of the Malahat band’s goals.

“The Malahat citizens’ goals and objectives include seeking opportunities for our youth, providing meaningful employment for our citizens while protecting our lands and resources.”

The Malahat Nation, which has about 265 citizens, is currently in the fourth stage of the six-stage treaty process. It is one of five Nations that comprise the Te’mexw Treaty Association.

“Malahat Nation is working diligently to develop jobs and other economic opportunities that will contribute to a prosperous future for its citizens and the surrounding region,’’ added Ida Chong, the minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, in the same media release

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