The Pender Harbour Chamber of Commerce and the Dock Management Plan (DMP) Working Group have engaged the legal services of former West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky MP John Weston.
Weston returned to law after losing his seat in the 2015 federal election, and now specializes in Aboriginal law and government relations through his firm, Pan Pacific Law Corporation.
“Weston is uniquely qualified to assist with legal analysis, government relations and the formulation of a strategy to enfranchise the businesses and residents of Pender Harbour in the Dock Management Plan process and to ensure the protection of our related rights,” said Len Lee of the DMP working group in a release announcing that Weston had been retained.
The release also said, since the release of the final version of the DMP earlier this year, the Working Group has continued efforts to engage with the province. “Results have varied but the bottom line is that we have not been successful in achieving our objectives or even getting a reply from the Minister [of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation].”
During the 2015 election, Weston identified “concern over Aboriginal land title and how this is coming into conflict with individual property owners” as an important issue for voters on the Sunshine Coast in an interview with Coast Reporter.
“This is especially the case in Pender Harbour as it relates to foreshore leases,” Weston said at the time. “As a co-founder of the Constitutional Foundation, I have always believed in equality for all Canadians, guided by one constitution, with equal legal protection for all. While the constitution and our laws require full consultation with Aboriginal communities, no group ought to exercise veto rights over the rights of other Canadians.”
When the final DMP was released, the province said unauthorized docks would have to be removed, and in a statement to Coast Reporter in July, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations said compliance and enforcement staff in the ministry are developing a plan for the removal of unauthorized docks that will be a “phased in approach” to give tenure-holders “a number of years” to comply with the requirements set out in the DMP.
– With files from Sophie Woodrooffe