Kwikwetlem First Nation has filed an Aboriginal title and rights and Charter claim with the B.C. Supreme Court in an effort to ensure its title and rights over key areas in its traditional territory.
Kwikwetlem has traditional territory around the watershed of the Coquitlam River, which the Nation says has seen significant development over many years, with no end in sight.
“Our community has worked hard to be consulted and meaningfully involved in decisions about the planning and management of our land for years,” said Chief Ron Giesbrecht. “Although governments have taken some steps to involve us in making decisions about how our lands will be used, we do not feel our title and rights interests are being taken seriously. Given there are limited processes for resolving Aboriginal land claims for a small Nation like ours, this claim is the next logical step.”
The claimed title areas in the case filed Feb. 9 amounts to less than one per cent of Kwikwetlem’s core territory, reads a press statement. It includes the following lands, and their surrounding areas:
Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Institute Lands: The Province of B.C. is the fee simple owner of this area.
Colony Farm Regional Park: The Greater Vancouver Regional District operating as Metro Vancouver is the registered owner of this area.
Riverview Hospital Lands: The Provincial Rental Housing Corporation is the fee simple owner of this area.
Kwikwetlem believes that the case will help to ensure it is meaningfully involved in decisions made about its lands, as per the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada in Tsilhqoti’in, which called for a consent-based decision model.
“We hope that the government will follow the advice of the Supreme Court of Canada and negotiate a fair and respectful resolution to our claim, which will allow us to build a strong future for our community,” said Giesbrecht.
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