Maanulth nations near joining Alberni’s regional district

The Huu-ay-aht and Ucluelet First Nations took another step towards joining the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District.

Two Maanulth member nations are another step closer to joining the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District as full voting members and others could follow, district administrator Russell Dyson said.

ACRD directors met with officials from the Huu-ay-aht and Ucluelet First Nations as well as staff from the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Ministry of Community Sport and Cultural Development on Wednesday morning.

The meeting was to discuss what services the ACRD have to offer and what services the tribes would like to see, Dyson said.

The crux of the meeting was a report penned by the ACRD that outlines how the tribes can be welcomed into the fold, the cost, cost recovery and potential timelines.

The initiative is part of the Maanulth Treaty, which the Huu-ay-aht and Ucluelet signed with provincial and federal governments last year with the Kyuquaht, Toquaht, Uchucklesaht.

Toquaht and Uchucklesaht could join the ACRD in the future.

The Tsawwassen First Nation joined the Metro Vancouver regional district, but having potentially four tribes join one is a first. “We’re on the leading edge of this and are creating a best practices for other regional districts,” Dyson said.

The move will help the Huu-ay-aht become more independent and have a more substantive say in development around them, Chief Councillor Jeff Cook said.

“We want to be part of society rather than sitting in isolation as part of a nation.

“We’ll have a say in what happens around us rather than just being consulted.”

Garbage collection, recycling and the hospital are some services the Huu-ay-aht nation is looking at but it also has a card to play. “We’ve got a sewer line to Bamfield that residents could potentially hook up to,” Cook said.

The ACRD hopes to have an answer from the tribes by April.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs confirmed that they are doing what they can to find resources to assist with the transition should it come off.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com