Working Together Since 2003
From Conflict to Effective Working Relationships: Successful First Nation—Local Government Collaboration
THE CHALLENGE: In 2002, a conflict that had been brewing for decades on the Sunshine Coast reached a turning point. The City of Powell River had not engaged Tla’amin Nation over a proposed waterfront development, and construction of the waterfront’s new sea walk had destroyed or damaged cultural sites. After the municipal leadership recognized their mistake, the $1.5 million contract was given to the Tla’amin Nation to manage and implement.
THE CHANGE MAKERS: A journey that began with conflict transformed into one of BC’s first Community Accords, between the Tla’amin Nation and the City of Powell River. The Community Accord features strong, respectful partnerships between elected leaders and staff, and a collaborative model that addresses a spectrum of topics ranging from transportation to emergency response to social well-being. Since the catalytic event back in 2002, it has been 20 years of a collaborative partnership between the two governments. When Tla’amin Nation finalized its modern treaty in 2016, the Community Accord was reaffirmed by all parties. In 2017, the regional government was gifted the name of “qathet” meaning “working together” from Tla’amin Elders as another step in their reconciliation journey.
THE OUTCOMES: Over the years, the First Nation, municipality and regional governments worked together under the Community Accord on a number of plans and initiatives that could benefit the entire community. The partnership also led to the first time a BC municipality approved property within its boundaries being returned as Treaty Settlement Lands, in 2018. The collaborative partnership continues in the region between the communities and, with the help of the Community Accord and dedicated leadership, can continue into the future.
Photo Credit: Province of BC
Photo Description: Leadership from both communities, Qwastånayå from Tla’amin and Stewart Alsgard from the City of Powell River gather at the Seawalk project. Photo Credit: Qwastånayå (L. Maynard Harry)