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Squamish Nation drafts own land use plan

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Payakentsut (West Callaghan). The WSP is located near Callaghan Lake in the Cheakamus valley, adjacent to the existing Callaghan lake provincial park near Whistler. This area, measuring 10,244 hectares offers the same cultural, tourism and recreation values as the Upper Elaho, plus extensive old-growth forests and high quality wildlife habitat.

Kwayatut (Upper Cheakamus). This area, which is largely within the boundary of Garibaldi provincial park, is already protected but the Squamish Nation believes that the current park status interferes with some of their cultural land uses, such as hunting and fishing.

Another key component of the LUP is the development of economic opportunities for the Squamish Nation. "For too long, the Nation has been denied fair and equitable access to opportunities while others have profited from the Nation’s land," the LUP states.

The plan also emphasizes the need for more training and meaningful employment opportunities for Squamish Nation members, especially in the forestry and tourism industries.

None of the stakeholders have had an opportunity to comment on the LUP says Chief Jacobs, but he is concerned that the new Liberal government won’t be as receptive to the plan as the NDP was.

"When we started this process five months ago, the NDP was in power," he says. "Whether the treaty process even survives the next year with this new government, I don’t know. They say they support the treaty process, but they also want to hold referendums on the principles of the treaties.

"Collectively, First Nations have already spent $60 million on the process, having borrowed the majority of that money, and everything’s up in the air right now."