Area D, or rural Graham Island, will become the third community to sign the protocol agreement with the Council of the Haida Nation Monday night in Skidegate (Feb. 27).
The regional district and the CHN are planning a special ceremony, which will start with a potluck dinner at 6:30 pm. People who want to attend should bring a potluck dish to share and a bowl and cutlery. Halibut soup will be provided. The signing will take place after the dinner, and everyone is welcome to attend.
The agreement which Area D director Ian Hetman will sign is slightly different from the document signed by Masset and Port Clements two years ago. Mr. Hetman said CHN president Guujaaw agreed to a couple of small changes suggested by the regional district.
“He more than dealt with the concerns of the regional board,” Mr. Hetman said.
The agreement signals the parties’ intention to work together, to respect each other, and to hold regular public meetings to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Mr. Hetman said the people he represents – who live a wide area, including the communities of Tow Hill Road and Tlell – are very much in favour of signing the protocol.
“I didn’t have any negative feedback,” he said, during his consultations a couple of months ago with the various communities. “In fact, I had feedback that it’s past time that we did this.”
Port and Masset were able to sign the agreement after a decision of their village councils, because they are municipalities. The unincorporated communities did not have the power to sign the document until recently, when the regional district board agreed to it.
Elected representatives of every community on the islands will meet during the day Monday in Skidegate to discuss issues of common interest, Mr. Hetman said.
The Area D director said he would like to talk about environmentally-friendly power generation for the north end, economic development and forestry. Other representatives will add their own concerns to the agenda, he said.
“I think there’s a lot of issues out there and I think it would be good to work together,” he said.
The meeting of elected officials was Mr. Hetman’s idea, and came out of the discussions he had with the CHN about the protocol agreement.
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