The District of Sicamous will be signing a friendship accord with neighbouring communities that will make it easier to work towards shared goals and jointly apply for funding.
A draft of the agreement, which includes the district, the City of Enderby and the Splatsin Indian Band, was presented at Sicamous council’s Feb. 13 meeting.
It’s purpose is to establish stable and effective government-to-government relations and honour historical, political, economic, social and cultural relationships.
The accord pledges the local governments involved will develop protocols and activities which will engage First Nations leaders or their representatives on initiatives in the realms of recreation, tourism, business and wellness.
Enhanced communication and information sharing between the three governments and a commitment to open, honest and straightforward interaction is also pledged.
“We are three communities committed to building trust, celebrating and respecting one another, our ancestors and our environment,” the accord reads.
Quarterly meetings between the three councils are promised in the accord.
“We have a lot of conversation with First Nations and the partnership is something that is recommended by both the province and the federal government,” said Coun. Jeff Mallmes.
Mallmes added that a friendship agreement of this sort is something he and Sicamous’ Mayor Terry Rysz and Town Manager Evan Parliament saw great advantages to when it was first presented to them at a Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference three years ago. He said it will benefit shared projects including the community forest and rail trail initiatives, particularly in the way it can make joint-funding applications easier.
“This document gives us access to funding that a lot of other communities don’t have access to,” he said.
Parliament said both Enderby and Splatsin have approved the draft version of the accord and all that remains is to get final approval from their councils and officially sign it.
A ceremony to sign the document is being planned for Feb. 25.