First Nations agreement seen as a landmark
« It’s historic, it’s unprecedented and it really signals the beginning of a new relationship between the province and the Musqueam First Nations. »
The province and the Musqueam Indian Band have reached a landmark agreement over land and cash worth up to $250 million.
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Michael de Jong said that the move will provide a new path to reconciliation.
"It’s a tremendous achievement," he said. "It’s historic, it’s unprecedented and it really signals the beginning of a new relationship between the province and the Musqueam First Nations."
The agreement grants the 1,200-member band ownership of the 59 hectares of University Golf Course lands, the seven hectares of River Rock Casino lands and two parcels of land amounting to 22 hectares from Pacific Spirit Regional Park. The band also gets a cash payment of $20.3 million.
Under the plan, the University Golf Course land must keep a golf course open until 2083, though 1.2 hectares will be established as a park.
The band voted 98 per cent in favour of the agreement. Chief Ernest Campbell called the agreement fair and honourable and says that it reflects a new level of co-operation between the band and the province.
COPE Park Board Commissioner Loretta Woodcock said that while it is not COPE’s position to judge the Musqueam for ratifying the agreement, protection of urban parks is paramount.
"With an expanding population in cities there is a greater dependence on our green spaces, so we need to look at alternative compensation," she said in a statement yesterday.
A signing ceremony was held yesterday in Victoria.