The provincial government and the Tahltan Nation have signed a plan that advances reconciliation and embraces the Klappen Valley’s significant social, cultural, environmental and economic values.
The plan is to help protect the sacred headwaters area from industrial development for a minimum of 20 years. It also helps identify where the development is appropriate.
According to MLA Doug Donaldson, the sacred headwaters has been important for the Tahltan Nation for thousands of years. A previous agreement that was made up in 2004 was rejected from the nation.
Donaldson says this plan was made with shared decision making.
“That’s definitely the way things have to go and the way our government sees reconciliation so, all in all, it was a very emotional day,” said Donaldson.
The plan is set up for three zones Zone A, Zone B and Zone C.
Zone A has major industrial activity in the Sacred Headwaters of approximately 287,000 hectares. In this plan industrial activities are not accepted in this zone.
Zone B has a high concentration of Tahltan values. Proposed project designs for economic development in the 49,000 hectares will need to report in advance how it will avoid minimal impact.
The last Zone is Zone C. It has 284,000 hectares. Industrial activities in this are viewed as appropriate and acceptable will generally be supported.
The provincial government and the Tahltan Nation held a ceremonial signing for this plan in Iskut. Tahltan Central Government President Chad Norman Day, Iskut Band Chief Rick McLean and Doug Donaldson all took part in this signing.
Donaldson says a lot of hard work was put into this plan and was one of the most remote signings he has been to.
“It was a long bumpy road to get into the camp where the Tahltan run cultural activities and there were about one hundred people who made the journey from Tahltan Nation,” said Donaldson.
After the first year of the implementation, the board may also add recommendations for additional pilot projects.