Belcarra Park Agreement
The agreement formalizes a cooperative relationship that has existed for several years. According to Metro Vancouver, the agreement does not remove contractual rights or violate existing land rights. Sav Dhaliwal, chairman of Metro Vancouver`s board of directors, described the agreement as “historic” and perhaps the first in a series that the regional government intends to deal with other coastal Saish when it comes to cultural cooperation in regional parks. A South Coast First Nation and Metro Vancouver – the association of local governments in the lower continent – have entered into a cooperation agreement on Belcarra Regional Park, the rugged 11-square-kilometre green space along the northeast corner of Burrard Inlet. “It`s about sitting at the table and being heard,” as well as informing others who visit the park and live in the area about the importance of the area to Tsleil-Waututh, George said. Metro Vancouver`s regional parking system now includes 13,600 hectares of parks, including 23 regional parks, two ecological nature reserves, two regional park reserves and five greenways. Dhaliwal said the agreement was open to results, with no specific conditions as to the type of cultural sites or activities envisaged. The Cultural Planning and Co-Operation Agreement recognizes both the ancestral and enduring ties of Tsleil-Waututh and Belcarra and their current use as Metro Vancouver`s regional public park. Metro Vancouver and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation announced Tuesday afternoon an agreement that will pave the way for cooperative management of belcarra Regional Park. “This is a great opportunity for Metro Vancouver and Tsleil-Waututh to understand each other`s values and what we would like to see in the park,” he added. The First Nation and Metro Vancouver say the agreement will help them work together to protect, preserve and enhance the regional park for the benefit of current and future generations.
“This is something that we think is also the basis for other similar agreements that we will try to secure with other Coast Salish First Nations,” Dhaliwal said, adding that he could not talk about the existence of other ongoing negotiations. These include the conservation of important archaeological and spiritual sites, as well as informing the public about historical links with Tsleil-Waututh. How this unfolds depends on the Tsleil-Waututh who lead the process. Metro Vancouver manages the park and therefore assumes all costs related to the agreement. In an interview with The Tri-City News, George reported on two similar management agreements that the First Nation already has as evidence of how this agreement might work: the 2001 Cates Park/Whey-ah-Wichen agreement with the North Vancouver District; and the 2010 Say Nulth Khaw Yum/Indian Arm Provincial Park agreement with B.C. Parks. The agreement signed in North Vancouver recognizes Metro Regional Park as Tsleil-Waututh`s largest parent company in the past with persistent cultural significance. This is not the first time Metro Vancouver and the First Nation have come together on park issues. Since 2016, the two parties have been working together on a large number of projects, including picnic area projects on the former village site. George, recently appointed head of the nation`s administration, was one of two members of Tsleil Waututh who opened the meeting with the regional government.
About 150 years later, the land is located within the park`s 1,100 acres — that`s almost three times larger than Vancouver`s Stanley Park — and has become a popular Tri-City destination that sees more than a million visitors each year.