Township raises concerns on federal policy

There are proposed amendments to a federal policy on additions to aboriginal reserves

Proposed amendments to a federal policy on additions to aboriginal reserves and reserve creation has Delta’s mayor and the Township of Spallumcheen concerned.

Delta Mayor Lois E. Jackson sent a letter to all provincial mayors and councils expressing worries about the proposed amendments. The changes, she claims, will have some very significant implications for local governments.

“In particular, the changes will allow First Nations to add lands to their reserves that are outside of their traditional territory,” wrote Jackson.

“The ramifications for a community like ours, which has three reserves nearby, is that we won’t have any veto power,” said township Coun. Todd York.

In her letter, Jackson pointed out seven main points for concern, ranging from the reasons for additions, location of reserve lands, land use, no veto power and net tax loss.

She also stated the proposed amendments are unclear as to how the new policy will impact provincial Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), as it is not mentioned in the policy document.

“There has to be another side to the story,” said Coun. Andrew Casson. “I can see them wanting to expand into Crown lands, but to move into municipal boundary lands, it’s a completely different structure.

“The complexity of this, to me, is mind boggling. There has to be more to it.”

Coun. Todd York motioned to write a strongly worded letter to MLAs, Premier Christy Clark, B.C. MPs, B.C. senate members and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

“I’d like to see us voice our concerns that we weren’t involved in the process of decision making,” said York. “Before this is rammed down everybody’s throat, I’d like them to invite us and communities like ours to speak on behalf of this.”

York’s motion was unanimously supported.