First Nations Collaboration Success Story

The Challenge

Economic development progress between local governments and neighbouring First Nations is highly dependent on establishing robust, inclusive and respectful relations and partnerships between governments.  Developing this collaborative framework requires time, mutual understanding and incremental steps.  

The Solution

The framework for these relationships have been developing since 2006, starting with the Accord of Recognition and Respect and Framework for Cooperation between the Kitselas, Kitsumkalum and the City of Terrace.

Cooperation Protocol Agreements were also signed between the City of Terrace and Kitselas and the City of Terrace and Kitsumkalum.  The objectives were to establish:

  • an effective government-to-government working relationship between the parties and other agencies
  • efficiency and effectiveness in the working relationship between the parties
  • a policy level and technical level dialogue
  • a cooperative planning process, information sharing and consultation process between the parties

Terrace broadened the partnership with the Kitselas First Nation with the signing of an MOU for the Securing of 2200 acres of Provincial Airport Option Lands in 2007.  This agreement was based on a mutual interest in securing lands from the Province to promote industrial development, generate taxation and create employment.  These lands fall within the asserted traditional territory of Kitselas.  Subsequent agreements were signed in 2008 and 2011, and in 2014, the Kitselas Development Corporation purchased 172 acres of the Skeena Industrial Development Park (SIDP).  Approximately 1400 acres of the SIDP has been sold.  Once the site is developed, Terrace and Kitselas First Nation will benefit from the property tax revenue and the region will benefit from employment opportunities. 

Benefits

  • The progressive series of MOUs and agreements over time have resulted in a robust relationship between the City of Terrace, and the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations.
  • In the spirit of the Cooperation Protocol Agreements, we are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with Kitselas and Kitsumkalum and will often direct interested businesses to their respective development corporations if a proposal is not the right fit for Terrace.
  • That level of trust has resulted in a Revenue Sharing Agreement between the City of Terrace and Kitselas to promote industrial development, generate taxation and create employment .

Outcomes 

  • Once the Skeena Industrial Development Park is developed, the City of Terrace and Kitselas First Nation will benefit from the property tax revenue and the entire region will benefit from employment opportunities.

Lessons Learned

  • Relationship building takes patience, time and ongoing work to develop agreements of mutual benefit.
  • Stronger together is the philosophy.  As neighbouring communities we rely on each other. It is critical that we lend support to each other when we can.
  • The success of economic development initiatives and First Nations enterprises such as the Kitsumkalum Rock Quarry and Logistics Park or Kitselas Forest Products make all of our communities healthier and more sustainable.