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June 30, 2020, 8:17 am

Historic Agreement in Whistler Focuses on Economic Development and Reconciliation

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
WHISTLER - An historic agreement between the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Líl̓wat Nations, the Province, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and Whistler Blackcomb creates new opportunities for economic development, reflecting B.C.’s commitment to reconciliation.

“After many years of negotiations and a lot of work on the part of the Squamish and Líl̓wat Nations, the Province, Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb, I am excited to see this agreement finalized,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This step empowers the community to move forward with its partners on planning the future of Whistler, one of B.C.’s cherished resort destinations.”

The agreement signed earlier this month provides a framework for establishing stronger government-to-government relations and a co-operative relationship between partners in the spirit of reconciliation.

As part of the agreement, changes have been made to remove ministerial approval from the municipality’s official community planning process, making it consistent with local governments across British Columbia. This means the community has clearer processes to guide future planning that will allow it to reflect the goals and vision of the community, while addressing its anticipated needs.

“The Líl̓wat Nation is pleased to support the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s Official Community Plan and looks forward to continued consultation on future amendments,” said Ku̓kwpi7 Skalúlmecw Political Chief Dean Nelson. “Our support comes after many years of engagement and discussions. The cornerstone of this approval is the continued commitment to relationship building and creating opportunities for Líl̓wat within their traditional territory.”

The signed framework includes development opportunities for the Nations, including a land exchange between the Nations and the RMOW, and potential collaborations on employee housing. The combined efforts of all parties established a solid foundation for future planning, land use and economic development that meets the needs and interests of the Whistler area.

“The signing of this agreement represents a significant milestone in the strengthening of relationships between the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, Líl̓wat Nation, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb,” said Syeta'xtn (Chris Lewis), Skwxwú7mesh Nation Councillor and Spokesperson. “We look forward to moving forward together in the spirit of reconciliation, creating meaningful opportunities for the original inhabitants of these lands that benefit all those involved.”

The Framework Agreement was signed by all partners as of June 15, 2020. For more information, contact any one of the signatories.

Quotes:

Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development –
“This agreement acknowledges the important role that First Nations will play in future planning and development in this area. It also provides greater certainty for the community and the resort as they build on their accomplishments in the tourism sector and enhance the region’s economic potential.”

Jack Crompton, mayor, Resort Municipality of Whistler –
“The framework agreement is a significant and meaningful step in continuing to build a government-to-government relationship with the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation based on trust and good faith. It furthers reconciliation and demonstrates a commitment to respectful partnerships. We are very pleased that it paved the way for provincial approval of RMOW’s Official Community Plan and enactment of recent provincial legislative amendments to the Resort Municipality of Whistler Act.”

Geoff Buchheister, chief operating officer, Whistler Blackcomb –
“This agreement affirms the special relationship between the Nations, the RMOW and our company. It is a commitment to creating a new path for opportunity and development that we believe will benefit everyone in our region. I am committed to this partnership and want to thank the Nations, the Province and the RMOW for helping to lay the groundwork for our shared future success as we welcome Canada and the world.”

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“This agreement is a strong example of the work we are doing in partnership with First Nations, local governments, communities and businesses across B.C. to put the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into action. We are seeing more and more relationships growing between local governments and Indigenous Nations. Collaborating to create economic development opportunities not only advances reconciliation, but creates opportunities for everyone in the region.”  

Quick Facts:
 
  • In February 2017, the Province and Whistler Blackcomb successfully concluded the first phase of negotiations on interests related to future resort development, resulting in new 60-year master development agreements and master plans.
  • The framework agreement marks the successful conclusion of the second phase of negotiations on land-use planning interests and economic development opportunities for the Nations.
  • As a result of the agreement, a land exchange will take place between the Kadenwood land (Resort Municipality of Whistler owned) and the Emerald land (Nation owned). 
  • Whistler’s Official Community Plan was recently approved by the Province with the support of the Nations and adopted by council.
  • Official community plans describe the long-term vision of communities and guide decisions on municipal and regional district planning and land use management.

Learn More:

Official community plans for local governments:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/local-governments/planning-land-use/local-government-planning/official-community-plans


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