The Municipality of North Cowichan and the Quw’utsun Nation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the establishment of a Municipal Forest Reserve working group to share information in relation to the stewardship and use of the MFR for the benefit of the community.
Government-to-government discussions between the Municipality and the Quw’utsun Nation – comprised of Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Penelakut Tribe and Lyackson First Nation – to draft the agreement the began in 2020. The agreement signifies the commitment by both parties to continue meeting and discussing activities in the MFR.
“This MOU represents a new approach to work with the Quw’utsun Nation with respect to their interest in activities within the Municipal Forest Reserve,” said North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring. “We are grateful to have this process to listen and learn from the Quw’utsun Nation, and to work together in a cooperative and diligent way.”
“The Municipal Forest Reserve lands remain a very important place for our people and, as such, we are anxious to ensure there is a process in place to adequately address our concerns,” said Acting Chief Cindy Daniels of Cowichan Tribes.
“On behalf of the other Chiefs, I too remain hopeful that once signed, this MOU will signal a new beginning in our involvement on the future of these lands,” added Penelakut Chief Joan Brown.
Knowledge gained from First Nations consultation will help inform and guide the concurrent technical review of the MFR by the UBC Partnership Group and the public engagement process that will support the review. The outcome will include possible scenarios for council’s consideration on the future management of the MFR, which will then form the foundation and framework for a new long-term forest management plan for the municipality.