Innovative Agreement Delivers Benefits And Forestry Jobs

‘Namgis First Nation will see benefits from proposed treaty lands early, thanks to an innovative agreement that supports both reconciliation with ‘Namgis and forestry operations on northern Vancouver Island.

The Province of British Columbia and ‘Namgis (pronounced Num-gees) have signed a Forestry Fund Agreement, which provides the First Nation with annual economic benefits based on timber harvesting within two Tree Farm Licences (TFLs) held by Western Forest Products.

The agreement is the first in B.C. to transfer resource economic benefits from proposed treaty settlement lands, and is a result of collaborative efforts by the Province, ‘Namgis and Western Forest Products to balance the rights of forest tenure holders, while advancing reconciliation with ‘Namgis First Nation.

The B.C.-‘Namgis First Nation Forestry Fund Agreement provides for the continuation of timber harvesting within proposed treaty settlement lands in the Nimpkish Valley, to the benefit of forestry jobs and certainty on the land base, while safeguarding the interests of the First Nation.

The agreement offsets forestry revenues that would be lost to ‘Namgis from timber harvesting within proposed treaty settlement lands prior to concluding a final treaty with Canada and British Columbia. Proposed treaty settlement lands in the draft ‘Namgis Agreement-in-Principle encompass portions of TFLs 37 and 39.

The forestry agreement will provide funds based on actual harvest volumes, up to a maximum annual amount. ‘Namgis could receive up to $400,000 per year until ‘Namgis, B.C. and Canada conclude an Agreement-in-Principle, and up to $600,000 per year until a final treaty agreement is concluded, over a total of five years.

The revenue will support ‘Namgis First Nation’s efforts to develop a sustainable forestry program and enhance the social, economic and cultural well-being of its members.

‘Namgis and Western Forest Products have concluded a separate business agreement related to forestry activities on proposed treaty lands that fall within Western Forest Products’ TFLs in the Nimpkish Valley.


Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –

“‘Namgis First Nation is a critical partner in managing some of the most productive forests in British Columbia. This agreement ensures the ‘Namgis are gaining benefits from a valuable resource within their traditional territories, and on land identified as potential treaty settlement land. This agreement strikes a critical balance between protecting benefits under negotiation for treaty, and supporting forestry jobs and the resource economy of northern Vancouver Island.”

John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –

“The Forestry Fund Agreement highlights the importance we place on reconciliation with ‘Namgis First Nation, and finding opportunities that support the community’s social and economic well-being. The continuation of sustainable harvesting in the Nimpkish Valley is the outcome of open dialogue and innovative negotiation, where all parties are benefiting and having their interests met.”

Debra Hanuse, Chief of ‘Namgis First Nation –

“The Forestry Fund Agreement, which facilitates the early flow of benefits to ‘Namgis from lands within our traditional territory, marks another important step on the pathway to reconciliation. We commend B.C. for working with ‘Namgis and our partner Western Forest Products to develop this new and innovative approach to achieving reconciliation. We look forward to working with a partner that shares our commitment to sustainable harvesting of resources within our territory.”

Don Demens, president and CEO, Western Forest Products –

“Western Forest Products is very pleased to be a partner in this ground-breaking agreement and to be entering into a mutually-beneficial business relationship with ‘Namgis First Nation.This agreement creates certainty for our business and facilitates capital investment by ensuring fibre continues to be available to domestic manufacturing facilities. The positive benefits of this unprecedented collaboration include an increased share of the benefits from sustainable forest management to the ‘Namgis First Nation, greater economic activity for the Province of British Columbia, and increased security for year-round employment in the Nimpkish Valley.”

Quick facts and background:

Forestry Fund Agreement funding is based on the volume of timber harvested and a rate negotiated by B.C. and ‘Namgis.

Namgis proposed treaty lands comprise 21,401 hectares, which included approximately 15,280 ha within TFL 37 and 2,179 ha within TFL 39. ‘Namgis, B.C. and Canada are in Agreement-in-Principle negotiations, stage 4 of the six-stage B.C. treaty process.

‘Namgis First Nation has about 1,660 members, with 971 living on reserves. ‘Namgis has eight reserves near Alert Bay and the Nimpkish Valley on northern Vancouver Island.

‘Namgis also has a forestry revenue sharing agreement with the Province.

Learn More:

Agreements between ‘Namgis First Nation and the Province are posted here: http://ow.ly/Rqnbg

To learn more about ‘Namgis First Nation, see: www.namgis.bc.ca

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