A Tlowitsis member at the Nenagwas welcoming event that took place on June 21, 2018. (Photo/Tlowitsis Nation)

SRD rejects ex-board member’s request to continue as Tlowitsis TAC representative

Area D director, Brenda Leigh, takes over as SRD’s representative after ex-Sayward mayor, John MacDonald’s exit

Electoral Area D director Brenda Leigh will be the new representative for the Tlowitsis Treaty Advisory Committee (TAC) at the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) following the resignation of former Sayward mayor, John MacDonald.

MacDonald, who was SRD’s representative on the Tlowitsis TAC, announced his resignation from office on March 13, but expressed his interest to continue as the TAC representative.

Tlowitsis councillor, Thomas Smith, had also written to the SRD to allow MacDonald to continue as the treaty representative.

READ MORE: Subsequent mayors’ resignations leaves Island village with a governance vacuum in perilous times

READ MORE: Tlowitsis First Nations wants former Sayward mayor to carry on as TAC representative

At the SRD board meeting held on May 13, board members expressed their concerns over appointing a representative who was no longer an elected member of the board.

The representation was transferred to Leigh, who was the alternate representative on the Tlowitsis TAC, after members of the board voted against MacDonald’s request.

Councillor Thomas Smith from Tlowitsis, First Nation said that they are still waiting to hear officially from the SRD about Leigh taking over as the new Representative.

Smith also said that the decision “does not affect the project outlook” and that they will “continue to move forward with their project.”

In a letter to the SRD, Smith had expressed Tlowitsis’ interest to continue with MacDonald as the TAC representative purpose for the sake of “consistency.”

He called it a “matter of convenience,” owing to the fact that MacDonald was part of treaty conversations since 2013, leading to the First Nation’s purchase of 635-acre community land, Nenagwas, on York Road, south of Campbell River.

However Smith also maintained that since the SRD TAC representative does not have any decision-making powers in the matters of the Nenagwas project, change of representatives won’t directly affect the project.

“We’re two separate entities,” said Smith about Tlowitsis Nation and the SRD and added that as neighbours they have to “work together” on certain issues.

First Nationsmunicipal politics