In late January of this year residents of Smithers Landing, Five Mile and surrounding area received notice that our properties were immediately beside an area of interest (AOI) as part of a fee simple land transfer with Lake Babine Nation (LBN).
Our first meeting with B.C. was on March 3. This is a brief timeline of events that have occurred since. It was decided by residents that an association was the best approach as there was one common goal. To this end Friends of Babine Lake Association (F of BL) was formed. While government’s policy is to engage with any residents who may be impacted within a proposed AOI, it did not require Lake Babine Nation to engage with local residents. F of BL asked to be included in discussion concerning any decisions being made within the AOI. LBN graciously invited us to the table and has allowed us input into the decision-making process. In specific terms they listened to our access concerns and have made adjustments to the AOI.
The dialogue has been open and very appreciated by F of BL. We expect this process to be ongoing for this specific AOI for the next few years as details are finalized. To that end Lake Babine Nation has invited our continued output. This will ensure that as Truth and Reconciliation progresses, we continue to understand each other’s concerns. This could not have been possible without the initiative by Lake Babine Nation to include us in their process. Lake Babine Nation has chosen a path of reconciliation with their neighbours.
There are currently many indigenous nations within B.C. which are at various stages of this critical process. It is something B.C. residents need to be aware of and engage with their indigenous neighbors through this agreement-making process. It is more than just words; true reconciliation is necessary for us as a nation to move forward together and be stronger for it. Lake Babine Nation recognizes this and has become a major player in making this happen.
F of BL wishes to recognize the signing of the LBN Foundation Agreement with both the Provincial and Federal Governments as a very positive step forward. We look forward to continued discussions with our LBN neighbors.
On behalf of Friends of Babine Lake Association