The city of Port Alberni has appointed its members of the Reconciliation Committee.
In July, Port Alberni city council extended an invitation to residents who were interested in sharing their experience, knowledge and skills to help foster reconciliation as part of a Reconciliation Committee with Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations.
On Monday, Sept. 18, Mayor Mike Ruttan announced that a number of well-qualified applications had been received and reviewed by council, and three members of the public had been appointed to the Reconciliation Committee.
Sheena Falconer is the executive director of West Coast Aquatic. In her role, she has developed relationships with both Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations through education and natural resource management. She also serves and volunteers with many organizations and managements in Port Alberni.
Ian Benoit is a professional policy analyst with a specialization in Indigenous governance and Crown relations. He is a resident of Port Alberni and has worked directly with many First Nations throughout the province.
Wally Samuel is a member of the Ahousaht First Nation and has worked for the Port Alberni Friendship Centre for many years, as well as serving as the chair of its board for almost a decade. He has also served on many boards in Port Alberni over the years.
“Each of these individuals will bring a unique perspective and skillset to this committee, which has been formed to investigate and report on actions for the city and community to undertake and strengthen relations, increase cultural awareness and understanding and support a welcoming and inclusive community,” said Ruttan on Monday.
Councillor Sharie Minions was also appointed to the committee on Monday.
Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations are expected to confirm their appointees to the committee in the coming weeks. The first meeting is expected to occur in October.