Tseshaht accept $10 million TFL 44 compensation offer

The Tseshaht First Nation has accepted a $10 million compensation offer from the province for infringing on tribal interests in TFL 44.

The Tseshaht First Nation voted to accept a $10 million offer from the province for private lands removed from Tree Farm License 44, Ha-Shilth-Sa News is reporting.

The Tseshaht voted to accept the offer on Nov. 9 and notified the province of the result on Nov. 10. A formal signing will be scheduled for later.

According to chief councillor Les Sam, the $10 million offer includes forest tenure opportunities, including a 376 ha woodlot at Ship Creek, a First Nations Woodland License around Sproat Lake, and a 1,519 ha First Nations Woodland License. There is also tourism opportunities, including a possible campground development on Sproat Lake.

The 1-million hectare Tree Farm License 44 was granted to MacMillan Bloedel in 1955. In November 2008, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the provincial government failed to consult with the Hupacasath First Nation before removing 77,000 hectares of land from TFL 44 in 2004.

Both the Tseshaht and Hupacasath have interestsin TFL 44.

A compensation package for infringing on Hupacasath interests in TFL 44 was accepted by them last summer, but terms of the deal were bound by confidentiality stipulations.

In the agreement, the province acknowledges the lack of adequate consultation with Tseshaht before the private lands were removed from the tree farm license.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com