I am pleased with the announcement from Hon. Steve Thomson (Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations) today that the Province of British Columbia is partnering with First Nations and the Nature Conservancy to acquire Grace Islet on Salt Spring Island from the property owner.
I will be delivering a letter to the Minister for thanking him for seeking (and achieving) the mandate to form this partnership.
Thank you for signing my petition and adding your voice to the growing concerns raised by First Nations that building a home on top of a significant ancient burial site is not appropriate.
I am sharing a copy of the media release that I sent out through the Green Party network today. I am deeply encouraged by the outpouring of support and the courage that everybody showed by standing up for a positive result to this issue. Today is a good day!
January 15, 2015
Green Parties thankful for Grace Islet purchase
VICTORIA – The BC Green Party and Green Party of Canada today expressed gratitude that the Province of British Columbia is partnering with local First Nations and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to preserve Grace Islet in Salt Spring Island’s Ganges Harbour.
“This is the right decision,” stated Adam Olsen, Interim Leader of the BC Green Party. “It demonstrates respect for the dignity and history of the Coast Salish peoples. I would like to thank the many people who worked so hard to achieve this result, including Gary Holman, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. It must be said, however, that the process that led to this decision was too long, lacked true dialogue and consultation, and caused a great deal of grief and anguish. I hope that this decision represents the government’s commitment to a more respectful and cooperative process for resolving future disputes with First Nations.”
“This is fantastic news," said Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada. "Credit goes to the Coast Salish Nations and to Salt Spring Island community members who refused to allow this outrage to become yesterday's news, but who persevered to ensure that this sacred ground would be protected.”
Grace Islet is home to an ancient First Nations burial grounds and was designated an archaeological site in 1966. Nevertheless, it was zoned for residential development and subsequently purchased by Edmonton businessman Barry Slawsky for the construction of a luxury home in 1990. First Nations and local communities have actively campaigned for the the protection of this sacred site for years.
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