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Memorandum of Understanding with the Cowichan Nation
March 16, 2021
(North Cowichan, BC) – The Municipality of North Cowichan and the Cowichan Nation are nearing the final stages in their development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in regards to the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR).
Last summer, government-to-government consultation began between the Municipality and the Cowichan Nation, which is comprised of Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, and Lyackson First Nation. These discussions have led to an MOU that, when finalized, will signify the commitment by both parties to continue meeting and discussing activities in the MFR, which is within the lands over which the Cowichan Nation asserts aboriginal rights and title.
“Working collaboratively with the Cowichan Nation to better understand their interests in the Municipal Forest Reserve has been a very important piece in this process,” said Mayor Al Siebring. “I am pleased that we are close to signing the MOU, and that this doesn’t signify an end, but rather marks a significant milestone and new beginning while we continue to listen and learn from the Cowichan Nation with respect to their interest in the activities within the MFR.”
“The Municipal Forest Reserve lands remain a very important place for our people and as such, we are anxious to ensure there is a process in place to adequately address our concerns,” said Chief Seymour of the Cowichan Tribes. “On behalf of the other Cowichan Nation Chiefs, I too remain hopeful that once signed, this MOU will signal a new beginning in our involvement on the future of these lands."
Knowledge gained from First Nations consultation and, when it resumes, input from the public engagement process, will help inform and guide the concurrent technical review of the MFR by the UBC Partnership Group. The outcome of this review will include possible scenarios for Council’s consideration on the future management of the MFR, which will then form the foundation and framework for a new long-term forest management plan for the Municipality.
Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan
Chief William “Chip” Seymour
T 250.748.3196 ex 1011