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‘We’ll continue to take a local approach’: Haida Nation president talks B.C.’s restart plan

As B.C. moves into Phase 2, President Gaagwiis Jason Alsop says islands will take ‘unique’ approach
In a video message posted on the Council of the Haida Nation website on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Haida Nation President Gaagwiis Jason Alsop said that as the province moves into Phase 2 of the Restart B.C. plan, Haida Gwaii will be taking a unique, local approach. (Council of the Haida Nation Facebook screengrab)

Haida Nation President Gaagwiis Jason Alsop released a video message on Wednesday to remind residents that Haida Gwaii is still in the state of local emergency enacted on March 23.

In a video posted on the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) Facebook page, Alsop said that despite the Restart B.C. plan announced by Premier John Horgan on May 6, “we will be taking an approach that’s unique to Haida Gwaii.”

“As B.C. looks to move into Phase 2 [of the restart plan], for Haida Gwaii, we’ll continue to take a local approach,” he said. “We’ll do our best to coordinate together — the island’s leaders — with the province.”

ALSO READ: Provincial parks on Haida Gwaii remain closed, as others around B.C. open to day use

The video message came one day after the Village of Queen Charlotte council held a special meeting to discuss plans to reopen Haida Gwaii, which Mayor Kris Olsen said was done at the request of the Island Protocol Table.

At the special meeting, Olsen said the CHN would like to make a statement that Haida Gwaii is closed to visitors for the season, but in the interest of an island-wide decision, community leaders had been asked to have discussions with their councils about what their comfort level was with reopening.

At the time of publication, the Village of Port Clements had also publicized a committee of the whole meeting scheduled for May 14 at 6 p.m. to discuss B.C.’s restart plan.

ALSO READ: Haida Gwaii breaks two temperature records on Mother’s Day weekend

In his May 13 video message, Alsop also asked residents to “stay disciplined” over the May long weekend.

“I know the long weekend is coming up and Haida Gwaii still is closed to non-residents,” he said, also suggesting that people get outside and garden.

“Just enjoy this time with your household and with yourself.”

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