Vancouver Park Board chair proposes co-management of parks with First Nations

A movement calling for co-management of parks that fall within the traditional territories of Vancouver’s First Nations communities will be debated at a park board meeting later this month.

Park board chairman Stuart Mackinnon, who is moving the motion, does not specify how the parks on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh lands would be co-managed, but says he is about 300 behind the times. year.

“I think it’s important, as we recognize reconciliation in this country, that the land that Vancouver sits on was occupied land,” Mackinnon said.

“We should have discussions with them about how they see the land, how they perceive land use and what we settlers can learn from the land.”

A sandy beach at Stanley Park. Mackinnon said discussions would take place with First Nations to define and develop a co-management plan. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

“Big Step Forward,” Says Squamish Nation

Co-management is a step in the right direction for inclusion and action for reconciliation, said Squamish First Nations councilor and spokesperson Sxwíxwtn (Wilson Williams).

“It’s a big step forward in acknowledging and righting the wrongs of the past,” Williams told the CBC show. The first edition.

He says that while there is still a long way to go, the motion is helping to build better relations with the Vancouver Park Board.

Currently, it’s difficult to have a say in land use or resource management in Vancouver’s parks, says Williams.

“If it’s not recognized as our traditional territory or our reserve lands. It’s very difficult, but consultation and collaboration have been [moving ahead] during the last years.”

Council of Squamish Sxwíxwtn First Nations (Wilson Williams) says the motion to co-manage parks with First Nations is a step in the right direction towards inclusion and reconciliation. (Squamish Nation)

The motion says the park’s board has accepted calls to action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Report, which include repudiating concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Williams says, it’s important to share history and identity through an Indigenous lens that ties into city parks.

“When I see reconciliation, we’re in a period of coming to terms with dark history, but also, you know, how we grew up together,” he said.

He says it is not only important to connect with culture and tradition, but also to share language, legends and stories related to the land.

Co-management, he says, would also allow elders and knowledge keepers to better understand.

“Our Indigenous communities have open and welcome arms. Building relationships is about building a better future for Vancouver.”

A map showing Vancouver’s parks. (City of Vancouver)

Mackinnon says the motion is an extension of the park board’s ongoing efforts to consult with Indigenous communities, which also include a naming policy for parks and beaches and the formation in 2014 of the Stanley Park Intergovernmental Group to develop a long-term plan. term for Stanley Park, with Vancouver First Nations.

Park board staff are also in the final stages of developing the first inventory and analysis report on Stanley Park.

Once completed, Emily Dunlop, the council’s senior planner, says the public will have access to decades of data, research and analysis about the park, its history and the impacts on Indigenous communities.

The park board is also consulting with First Nations to open Canyon Creek of a culvert under Marine Drive NW and Spanish Banks West Parking Lot A before it empties into English Bay.

The project will free the creek from the pipe, essentially digging it up to provide new habitat for birds and aquatic life, according to a project summary from the park board.

The co-management motion is scheduled to be debated on January 24.

A plan shows the future of an unburied Canyon Creek. The park board says First Nations have been consulted for the project. (City of Vancouver)

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