OUR VIEW: Reserve issue has been handled poorly

We say: Regional leadership could have been more sensitive

The Strathcona Regional District’s demand that they be properly consulted about the process of creating a new reserve on York Road for the Tlowitsis First Nation may appear that they’re looking out for the best interests of their constituents.

But appearances could be deceiving.

Because what the SRD is actually looking like is a bunch of petulant children. “You haven’t included us in your discussion so we’re not going to commit to provide the reserve with basic services like water. Nyah, nyah.”

Really? They’re not going to extend basic services to the reserve? Are they really going to do that in a country with a long history of doing nothing about removing shameful conditions in reserves that don’t have basic sewer and water services?

Of course not. The SRD is simply taking a political position to ensure that they look out for the supposed best interests of the York Road, Area D and, indeed, Strathcona Regional District (SRD) residents.

But the SRD is handling this all wrong because what they’re really doing is perpetuating the image that the residents of the region are a bunch of NIMBY (not in my backyard) bigots. The neighbourhood didn’t do themselves any favours when someone spray painted anti-reservation graffiti on the pavement of York Road. But the actions of a few always taint the image of the majority and it’s hard to know how much race plays a part in opposition to the reserve plan. When one side of a debate is a racial minority, it’s hard to distinguish between true feelings and legitimate issues.

The process of creating a reserve is a federal responsibility and the SRD, as a ward of the province, is not really involved in that process at this stage. Anyone concerned about the community not being consulted just has to ask how many times First Nations communities in our country’s history have been involved in consultations before losing land.

Of course, people will say can’t the discussion get past the long, sad, sorry history of Native disenfranchisement? Possibly but it takes a high level of sensitivity and the courage for the entrenched community (represented by the SRD) to make the first move towards reconciliation. What do they have to lose?

A justified or unjustified reputation for petty xenophobia perhaps?

It’s safe to say that a significant number of York Road area residents believe that this could be handled more  rationally, sensitively and maturely. Indeed, more representative of their community.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP ask for help finding missing motorcyclist on Vancouver Island

Gordon Oper hasn’t been in touch with his family since early this week

Campbell River Mayor Adams suggests ways to celebrate Easter while social distancing

Home-based egg hunts, video calls to relatives all good ways to stay safe

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

VIDEO: Community rallies around Campbell River fire victims

Emergency Social Services volunteers logged over 100 hours in first day after fire

Campbell River to restart Highway 19A construction

City says safety measures in place to protect from COVID-19

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

Campbell River community COVID-19 agencies, services and resources list

The list outlines status of social agencies in the community

B.C. Ferries busy on long weekend, even during pandemic

Sailings from Tsawwassen to Nanaimo filling up

B.C. artist erects 15-foot statue and names it COVID

Decades of collecting spare parts culminated in folk art towering over a country road

B.C. jails grant early release for close to 100 inmates due to COVID-19

The move, which impacts offenders serving intermittent sentences, is to prevent spread of virus

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Lower Mainland hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

Most Read