“It’s great to be able to put pen to paper and say that we’re committed to each other over the long-term,” said Ryan Wonnacott with DWB at a partnership signing with the Williams Lake First Nation on Thursday, July 10. Picture are WLFN chief administrative officer Aaron Mannella (from left), Chief Willie Sellars, and DWB biologists Brian Aitken and Ryan Wonnacott. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

Williams Lake First Nation signs partnership agreement with DWB Consulting Services Ltd

The partnership is a result of ongoing environmental monitoring in the River Valley

The Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) has signed a formal partnership agreement with a Lac La Hache consulting firm specializing in engineering, environmental and forestry services.

DWB Consulting Services Ltd continues to test the quality of water, sediments and soil in the Williams Lake River Valley following a sewage spill on April 26 as part of a tripartite agreement between WLFN, Ministry of Environment and City of Williams Lake.

Read More: Pollution abatement order issued to City of Williams Lake for ongoing sewage spill

Environmental manager Ryan Wonnacott said it is a great opportunity to formalize the relationship they have had with (WLFN) for a number of years.

“This is just a way of formalizing and showing our commitment to each other, and so we’re really looking forward being that we’re a local company headquartered down here in Lac la Hache that we can work with a First Nation.”

Established in 1990 by Dave Bedford, DWB has expanded over the years from the town skirting the 19 kilometre shoreline of Lac La Hache to include offices in other B.C. communities including Prince George, Burns Lake, Chetwynd and Fort St. John.

WLFN Chief Willie Sellars said the partnership gives the nation more capacity and job opportunity while providing another stream of revenue so the nation “can continue to do the cool things that they have been doing.”

Read More: B.C. Interior First Nation breaks ground on farm-to-gate cannabis cultivation facility

“When you look at the capacity they bring forward even on the engineering side it’s going to open up some doors for us where we’re going to be able to pursue opportunities in the general area,” he said. “That’s always positive.”

WLFN, Sellars added has been also discussing the ongoing environmental remediation and maintenance work at the Mount Polley mine and said DWB will give them that peace of mind that things are getting done properly.

“I’m not an expert, and bringing that expertise on we’re going to be able to feel a lot better about things.”

WLFN has a number of ongoing partnerships with other local companies including P D Security, Lake Excavating and Gordon’s Septic, Water and HydroVac.

Aaron Mannella, chief administrative officer for WLFN said WLFN continues to look to align themselves with industry partners and expertise.

Read More: Enbridge, WLIB compressor station upgrade project a ‘significant’ partnership

“The focus of our partnership right now is to continue to be good stewards of the land specifically around the River Valley area and the corresponding sewage spill, so that’s a project that both parties are involved in and we’re looking to ensure that those fish habitats can be restored and that there’s as little impact to ecosystems as possible,” he said.

“Beyond that we’ll be looking to strengthen further relationships throughout other industry projects and as we give consideration to rights and title in the region and in the traditional stewardship area of the Williams Lake First Nation DWB will be a trusted partner in providing expertise and capacity in those areas.”

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