The Sechelt Indian Band's (SIB) application to the province to keep the Crown land at Egmont Point a protected area now has the support of the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD).
The SCRD had applied to the province for a marine park over the foreshore at Egmont Point in response to the community's request to protect the area from the clearcut logging that was happening on the private land nearby. The SCRD is now proposing to support the SIB application as long as the SIB agrees to the Egmont community's request to "protect it in perpetuity," SCRD chair John Rees said. The community issues are that the point would have no logging; water sources for the residents would be forever protected; the community could access the area; and the area would be open for kayakers and recreational boaters.
"First Nations agreed to that, and as a result why would we make an application that is opposed by First Nations if they're going to make the application to do exactly what the community has requested from us?" Rees asked. "So it just makes sense and it's in the spirit of co-operation. The SCRD had not yet applied for the upland portion of the area. The province has estimated the land to be valued at $1,820,000, according to an SCRD staff report. Egmont Point is across the water from Egmont where Skookumchuck Narrows opens into Jervis Inlet.
"The area is critical to the heritage of First Nations so the presumption is that they also want to keep it as is in perpetuity," Rees said.
SIB Chief Stan Dixon said the SCRD backing its application to keep Egmont Point to conserve it for the future is a positive step in the right direction.
"The impact that conserving that whole area will have is great for the whole community," Dixon said.
"If things go properly the Sechelt Indian Band could use its people to conserve and enhance the area and beautify it. But the first step is to make sure that nothing happens to it, that the government doesn't sell it."
The Egmont Point discussions coincide with the SIB and SCRD working on the final wording of their protocol agreement on heritage.
"This is maybe the first of this type of mutual agreements we can make with First Nations where we both benefit by mutual support in requests," Rees said. "As a result of the protocol when that's completed, I think you'll see more agreements of this type."