By Heather Ramsay–Community leaders want to be more involved in the government-to-government land use plan negotiations, leaders said at the Protocol meeting held in Queen Charlotte on Oct. 30.
Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha reminded Guujaaw and Arnie Bellis about a letter which stated as such, and which has never been followed up on.
Guujaaw said the problem is there is no longer a central table where the land use plan is being discussed. When the province’s negotiator walked out in late August, some of these pieces were casualties of a process that was not getting anywhere.
“We don’t miss it at all,” he said.
Other people in the audience who were members of the Land Use Planning table also raised concerns about the government to government negotiations.
Jacques Morin said the hard work put in by community members, the table didn’t end up with a consensus document. But now there are no proper channels open to provide more input.
“Now that the process is in government to government it feels as if the community has lost their opportunity for input,” he said.
Guujaaw said he doesn’t feel pessimistic about the Land Use Plan.
“It was probably the best spent time any group ever invested on this island,” he said.
He recognizes that the only reason the table didn’t come to consensus was because of industry.
Mr. Bellis noted that the state of the Land Use Plan is part of the complex situation on the islands. He said management plans are driven by industry and island leaders agree change is necessary.
Both Guujaaw and Mr. Bellis suggested the community viability forum is the most important aspect of the land use plan now.
Rather that lock down the details of the land use plan, they suggested work needs to be done on future economic plans and potential for the islands.
“It should be about really planning at a community level how people are going to live their life here,” he said.
Bill Beldessi spoke briefly about the Community Viability forum, which is currently holding town hall meetings.
There are many people on the outside looking in, seeing opportunities and wanting to get in, he said.
“But we are not interested in creating an economy for people in Vancouver or San Francisco,” he said.
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