tiskwat, BC – The Tla’amin Nation and the qathet Regional District today released a joint statement on the future of the site of the former pulp and paper mill at tiskwat,once the principal settlement of the Tla’amin people.
The Joint Statement focuses on the importance of the site for future economic development, as well as the manner in which the site needs to be stewarded to ensure the greatest degree of local benefit and to responsibly manage the decaying infrastructure and toxic legacy of over a century of industrial activity on the site. The Tla’amin Nation’s modern treaty protects the Nation’s right to a specific claim to the tiskwat site, which is now formally underway with the Government of Canada.
The Nation and the Province of British Columbia have established an intergovernmental forum to address shared interests at tiskwat. Tla’amin has also conducted significant due diligence regarding environmental liabilities and economic prospects at the site. “We are planning for a dynamic set of economic activities at tiskwat, including low carbon fuel production, value-added forest products, and land-based aquaculture – sustainable businesses that can benefit from the site’s unique attributes, such as existing infrastructure, availability of local hydro power, open water access, and proximity to population centres.” said Hegus John Hackett of the Tla’amin Nation.
Through the Joint Statement on tiskwat Tla’amin Nation and the qathet Regional District assert a shared commitment that future economic activity at tiskwat should be guided by a credible and comprehensive vision and business plan. A plan that the parties say must be consistent with local values and aspirations, backed by the deployment of extensive resources to responsibly remediate and manage the environmental liabilities at the site.
“The tiskwat mill site has an extensive history going back thousands of years,” said Clay Brander, qathet Regional District board chair. “We recognize the potential offered by the site and share the goal of the Tla’amin Nation that the site be managed effectively to benefit the local economy, culture, and environment well into the future. By requiring future site operators to prove they have the resources to maintain operations sustainably, our governments aim to prevent the mill site from becoming a financial and environmental liability for our community.”
The Tla’amin Nation was forcibly removed from tiskwat by the government in the late 1880s. The river adjacent to the Tla’amin settlement was dammed, eradicating one of the richest salmon runs on the south coast of British Columbia upon which the Tla’amin people relied.
The dam provided power to a large pulp and paper mill constructed on the site in the early 1900s. The mill was a major economic force in the region for over 100 years, providing jobs, and significant tax revenue for local governments. It ceased operations in 2021, and the owner, Paper Excellence, announced on August 16, 2023, the permanent curtailment of mill operations. The site is currently for sale. The Joint Statement is meant to unite local governments about the future of tiskwat in order to guard against a future owner declaring bankruptcy or strategically abandoning the property.
About the Tla’amin Nation:
The Tla’amin Nation is a self-governing modern treaty nation with significant land holdings in the qathet region on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. The Tla’amin Treaty with Canada and British Columbia came into force in 2016. The Tla’amin people have occupied the region for millenia, stewarding the land and sea in accordance with Tla’amin law and respect for the natural world. To learn more please visit https://www.tlaaminnation.com/.
About the qathet Regional District:
The qathet Regional District serves the rural areas from Lund to Saltery Bay including the City of Powell River, Texada, Savary and Lasqueti Islands and provides some services, through contract, to Tla’amin Nation. To learn more please visit qathet.ca. To view meeting agendas, watch meetings, and review meeting minutes, please visit qathetrd.civicweb.net
qathet Regional District:
Chief Administration Officer