On Tuesday, Jan. 29 the Port Alberni Port Authority and Tseshaht First Nation signed an agreement to engage in a long-term collaborative partnership. Pictured is the Harbour Quay, which the port authority manages. (Eric Plummer photo)
The Tseshaht First Nation (TFN) and the Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) have signed an agreement to formally establish a cooperative and collaborative relationship between the two parties.
The agreement—Cooperation, Collaboration and Communication Accord—was signed Tuesday morning by the TFN and PAPA and is effective immediately.
The purpose of the Accord is to enter into a more formal arrangement between the TFN and PAPA with respect to establishing and maintaining a long-term cooperative and collaborative relationship through effective communications.
“The reason why we focused on [cooperation, collaboration and communication] is we realized in the past that between both parties, communication wasn’t always the best and that’s kind of a way forward, so we’ve agreed to come together on good terms,” said Ken Watts, elected councillor with the TFN.
Both parties have a number of joint interests including marine use, fisheries, tourism, skills, training, employment and transportation infrastructure.
The Accord states that TFN council and the PAPA board of directors will meet at least annually and as required to monitor and evaluate the implementations of the Accord.
“It’s a living document too,” Watts said. “I think that’s good because we’re going to learn as we go along here, we’re entering new ground in terms of a more formal relationship. I’m quite excited.”
Watts added that the Accord will also strengthen the TFN and PAPA’s working relationship to help better explore opportunities to incorporate Tseshaht culture, history and language through advertising and possible signage.
“I think it’s more the commitment to meet regularly and we can communicate and let each other know what’s going on if we think it might impact the other person,” Watts said. “For me, one of my portfolios is economic development so we’re already looking at a few potential opportunities to work together and collaborate on some projects within the Port Authority’s jurisdiction and work that they do. They’ve already expressed interest on working on a few projects with us.”
Zoran Knezevic, president and CEO of the Port Alberni Port Authority, said he’s looking forward to continuing to strengthen PAPA’s relationship with the TFN and advance economic development for the region. Knezevic said a purpose of the Accord is to increase the number of meetings between the two parties and to work together on projects of common interest.
“Such as Clutesi Haven Marina, where we see a potential of working together, of developing an attraction or a landmark for the benefits of the region, Port Authority and Tseshaht First Nation,” Knezevic said. “Also the common projects like a fish processing facility and any other areas that we find of common interest.”