The location of the Cutter Cove Towboat Reserve (in orange) within the Chatham Channel. BC Marine Conservation Analysis Data. Map by Sean Feagan / Campbell River Mirror.

The location of the Cutter Cove Towboat Reserve (in orange) within the Chatham Channel. BC Marine Conservation Analysis Data. Map by Sean Feagan / Campbell River Mirror.

Tlowitsis Nation and Council of Marine Carriers agree on tugboat reserve repositioning

Move opens location for proposed salmon farm

Tlowitsis Nation and the Council of Marine Carriers have reached an agreement to reposition the Cutter Cove Towboat Reserve to accommodate a salmon farm proposed in the area.

Cutter Cove, located in the Chatham Channel north of Campbell River, is the location of a towboat reserve. It serves as a holding area, sort yard, and refuge for safe passage in inclement weather for the log towing industry.

But its location was selected as the most suitable site for a salmon farm proposed as a joint venture by Tlowitsis Nation and an operating company. This was based on the Nation’s land use plans, archaeological sites, and environmental factors, according to a joint press release.

As a result, the two parties have come to an agreement to reposition the towboat reserve to accommodate the proposed salmon farm.

“We appreciate how the Council of Marine Carriers (CoMC) and its members are recognizing our right to self-determination and supporting our goal of developing a new proposed salmon farm within our territory,” said Chief John Smith of Tlowitsis Nation, in the release.

“This is what reconciliation looks like, and we would like to thank the CoMC for their leadership and vision in this space.”

The new farm, once approved and operational, will help the Nation build a new community, called Nenagwas, located near Campbell River, he said.

This agreement marks the first time the Council of Marine Carriers has agreed to alter an existing footprint to accommodate other development within a reserve, said Captain Philip Nelson, CoMC president, in the release.

“After listening to Chief Smith’s vision for their marine space in the area, we understand and respect how important this fish farm is to the Nation, as it is their right to self-determination,” said Nelson. “To us, true reconciliation means coming to the table to listen, be open to new ideas, and find solutions together, and that’s what happened here.”

While the reserve is still an important and necessary facility for the log towing industry, it is not used as frequently as it once was, due to changes in towing practices and tug technology, per the release.

With the support of Tlowitsis Nation, the CoMC has requested the Ministry of Forest Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development for a replacement reserve in the area.

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sean.feagan@campbellrivermirror.com

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