With a land and cash offer presented to the K’ómoks First Nation, they are now one step closer to finishing a treaty after nearly 30 years of negotiations.
The offer was presented to the First Nation on Wednesday, and they say it will be reviewed in confidence and eventually put to a vote of Nation members.
When negotiations are finished and the full treaty package is ratified, they say it will likely come into effect in 2026. They say it will give them the opportunity to go from an Indian Act Band to a self-sufficient and self-governing Nation.
The First Nation says the benefits will be felt with new residential developments, job-creating investments in new businesses and new water and sewage infrastructure.
K’ómoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel says the treaty will allow the nation to develop a strong system for the future.
“The land and cash offer comes after 28 long years of negotiations, and seeing it finally come to our membership who will determine the way forward is exciting,” said Chief Rempel. “I know we are ready to begin building the future our ancestors dreamed for us, to build a strong foundation for future generations. That is ultimately who this treaty is for.
“By negotiating for this treaty, we look to uplift our Nation, but also create opportunities and prosperity for all those residing within our traditional territory.”
The First Nation adds that with fewer than 500 members to manage the land, there will be new opportunities for all as economic development progresses.
Town of Comox mayor Nicole Minions says she wants to work with the First Nation heading forward with this agreement.
“It is positive and heartening to see the ongoing hard work undertaken by the K’ómoks First Nation and the federal and provincial governments in unfolding this historic agreement,” said Minions. “It will provide K’ómoks First Nation with sustainable resources to continue to build their community into a strong regional partner in the Comox Valley.
“As the incoming mayor of Comox, I want to personally stand as an ally through the process and extend sincere gratitude for those who brought this agreement forward.”
The K’ómoks treaty will be the first of its kind as “a living agreement” that will be reviewed every ten years and amended where necessary, according to the First Nation.