by Jenilee McDonald
The open house and information session January 12, 2011 at the Sek'wel'was Community turned out great!
The vibe in the air was positive. The community members were walking in with a positive attitude and smiles. The St'at'imc Hydro team were welcomed with respect.
Philomena Thevarge opened with a prayer, and Chief Perry Redan than began voicing his concerns about the impacts Hydro had in the Sek'wel'was community (Loss of agriculture, canal built in the community in which 20 acres was taken to build, and that it impacted fisheries, and the nation as a whole). Perry then introduced the agreement and talked about the benefits to the community, including more employment opportunities.
Questions and concerns from Sek'wel'was Community:
"Can we amed these agreements?"
"Can we re-vote?"
"The money that is going into the trust, is it for the Nation or the Community?"
Overall, Sek'wel'was left the information session with a better understanding of their agreement, and we look forward to hearing back from members.
Date:January 24th (Mon)
Time: 4:00-9:00 pm
Location: Super 8 Motell
Address: 1881 Sumas way
We will be contacting the selected person(s) who have been hired to cater these dinners. Thank you all for your patience on this website. We are working our hardest, and our main priority is to get the information out to the public as soon as we receive it. We will continue to keep the information flowing so everyone is kept up to date. All feedback is constructive, please keep them coming so we may better serve our people.
Top Community FAQs
What is the agreement and what are the details?
This is a settlement with multiple agreements. Some of the agreements deal with past impacts that affected individuals, while others are community-based to deal with impacts to our communities as a whole, and lastly we have agreements that look to the future and define a relationship between the St’át’imc and BC Hydro on hydro operations within the territory.
There are a number of parts to these agreements: compensation, which helps the communities and the nation be healthier, happier, and stronger; settlement of past, present and future impacts related to existing facilities; and a future relationship.
How does this agreement help us today, and in the future?
It will reduce the impacts from hydro development on our fish, wildlife, and water; specifically our water use and water availability. This is a benefit to everyone that depends on salmon in the Fraser system; a healthier stock benefits all users of the fishery.
How does it impact off-reserve members?
The settlement provides benefits to all St’át’imc communities through a Trust. The settlement funds will be invested, and managed for purposes such as Administration & Governance, Culture & Heritage, Social & Spiritual Well-being, Economic Development, Education & Training, Environmental & Natural Resources, Health, Infrastructure & Programming, and Recreation & Sport. Those opportunities will always be made available to St’át’imc who reside on- or off-reserve.
What is the Ratification Process?
The settlement has been papered. It is now in the hands of our people to decide. Our duty is to ensure that St’át’imc voters are informed about the question that they are asked to vote on (whether they agree with the settlement) and whether they authorize their leadership to sign the agreements. We anticipate the vote to be held in the Spring of 2011. In order to get there, we have to hold information sessions in each of the communities and a number of urban areas where members may reside. Members will be given opportunities to review the Agreements on their request, view the presentations, and speak to legal counsel, leadership, and the negotiators to have the Agreements explained.
When will the benefits kick in/ When will I see things happen?
If a simple majority of voters vote in favour of the settlement, meaning 50% plus one of those who participate in the vote, this will provide the authority needed for the St’át’imc leadership to sign the Agreements. Once the agreements are signed, the benefits will begin to flow; in some instances, 60 days after the agreement is signed. The settlement structure will provide payments for 50 years in some cases, and up to 99 years in others.
Why has this process taken so long?
In today’s terms it may seem like a long time, but there are many specific claims in Aboriginal communities that remain unresolved, or there are claims that have taken 100 years to resolve. The Nisga’a treaty, for example, took many, many generations to live through for it to resolve. In every province, in every part of this country, it takes a long time to resolve grievances with the federal and provincial governments, things do not happen quickly and are not easy to resolve. Seventeen years in that context is actually a very short time.
Who will control the money?
Some of the settlement will be paid directly to communities, to be spent at their discretion, and some of the compensation will be given to specific families with grievances regarding their lands.
Most of the funds will be put into a Trust for the benefit of the St’át’imc for many generations to come. Each community will appoint a Trustee. Trustees are bound by the Trust Agreement to act independently and in the best interest of the beneficiaries (11 communities, and the nation as a whole), at arms-length from our political bodies.
Will this negatively affect our dealings with other companies?
No, absolutely not. What it will do it will show other companies a means and a way to achieve results and build successful projects within our territory.
What Happens if there is a “No” Vote?
If one or more communities vote “no,” none of the agreements happen and we return to life as usual.