It’s all about opening the door — not just cracking it, Soda Creek First Nation treaty manager and negotiator Gord Keener said after band members met with the Cariboo Regional District for a community- to-community forum Thursday Sept. 12 at Soda Creek.
“We’ve met with the regional district in the past and we have a relationship with the city government, so it’s a matter of rebuilding the communications with the CRD and moving forward,” Keener told the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.
The two groups emerged from the meeting committed to developing a memorandum of understanding, a letter of understanding, protocol agreements or an accord.
Whatever they come up with will put in writing an agreement on how the two groups are going to work together, move ahead in the future and respect each other’s jurisdictions, Keener said. “And they have to be put together without prejudice to any other negotiations we are undertaking.”
Right now Soda Creek has a 911 service agreement and a fire protection agreement with the CRD from the Wildwood Fire Dept. for the Deep Creek Indian Reserve, and recently entered into a building inspector agreement.
“Today’s meeting is a step forward in how we’re going to work collaboratively,” Keener said.
In May, the CRD applied for funding from the Union of B.C. Municipalities for some community-to-community forums.
In the past the CRD has had similar meetings with First Nations, but they were multi-community meetings.
“This time we’re trying to move forward with specifics with communities so we know how best we can interact with that community,” CRD chair Al Richmond said. “If you have five different First Nations in the room it takes a lot longer to get through what each one’s main issues are.”
Richmond said meeting with one community at a time will help the CRD build relationships.
“Today we talked about the value of an emergency plan and getting Soda Creek to come in and do some training.” Additionally, the band and the CRD will provide an overview of how each government works to members.