The Nanwakolas Council was incorporated in February 2007 to facilitate dialogue between First Nations and proponents and statutory decision makers regarding resource development applications submitted to the province of BC. In general, provincial resource development referrals are directed to the Nanwakolas Council where staff researches the applications, formulates reports to the participating member First Nations based upon existing First Nation land use planning, cultural and resource data and data from federal, provincial, local and non-governmental sources, works with the member First Nations in developing a written response to the referral, and facilitates dialogue between the First Nation and the province aimed at addressing First Nation issues or concerns with the application. All decision making regarding referral responses remain with the First Nations.
In 2009, after the completion of a 3-year pilot project phase and with the signing of the Nanwakolas/British Columbia Framework Agreement (the "SEA"), the scope of referrals directed to the Nanwakolas Council Referrals Office expanded significantly beyond what was previously agreed to. Currently, provincial resource development applications in respect of 13 different pieces of provincial legislation are directed to the Referrals Office. Additionally, information sharing protocols with major forestry licensees direct information sharing efforts with participating member First Nations through the Referrals Office. On average, in excess of 750 referrals and information sharing files are handed by the Referrals Office annually.
The mandate of the Nanwakolas Council Referrals Office is to protect and advocate for the recognition of the Aboriginal rights of the participating member First Nations by:
- ensuring that participating member First Nations are aware of all resource development activities proposed or ongoing within their traditional territories;
- faciliatating the timely development of effective responses to province resource development referrlas that comprehensively set of out the views of the First Nation regarding the contemplated resource development; and
- facilitating the resolution of issues or concerns raised by a participating member First Nation regarding ongoing or proposed resource development.
First Nations participating in the Referrals Office include: Mamalilikulla-Qwe'Qwa'Sot'Em First Nation, Tlowitsis Nation, Da'naxda'xw Awaetlala First Nation, Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw First Nations, Kwiakah First Nation, K'ómoks First Nation and We Wai Kum First Nation.
View the Geographic Scope of the Nanwakolas Referral Office in a larger map.
Proponents contemplating the submission of a resource development permit application within the geographic scope are encouraged to contact the Referrals Office prior to submission of the application to facilitate early dialogue with the relevant First Nation - which can greatly reduce the provincial application process time.
For more information regarding the Nanwakolas Council Referrals Office please contact Art Wilson, Referrals Office Manager at artwilson [at] nanwakolas [dot] com.