After much preparation, the Lake Cowichan First Nation and the Cowichan Valley Regional District have signed their inaugural protocol framework agreement, which outlines ways in which both groups will work together collaboratively on social, environmental and economic development in the future.
The signing took place on April 29 at the Lake Cowichan First Nation’s offices.
“To me it’s an awesome feeling to have everyone here gathered around the table,” said LCFN chief Cyril Livingstone. “It’s something we look forward to and strive for… We’re doing everything in our power to really do something that’s going to benefit not only the band but the whole [region].”
Livingstone added he was proud to not only have two of his daughters, Melanie and Carole, with him at the table as part of the signing, but also his great-granddaughter, Hazel.
He said years ago the relationship between the First Nation and the regional district was strained, and the progress that has been made since then is significant.
“It just goes to show we can work together. We can accomplish things,” he said. “It’s exhilarating. It’s a proud moment for me today.”
Jon Lefebure, chairman of the CVRD, echoed that sense of pride. He acknowledged they were meeting that day on the chief’s ancestral territory and expressed gratitude for the First Nation’s hospitality and generosity.
“It really is an important day for us as well in terms of the protocol. I really appreciate the reference to environmental stewardship in it and the work that we hope to do together to benefit all our communities as you have mentioned,” he said.
“You’ve come to us, you’ve been very forthright and you’ve come to us asking for that chance to work together and we’d be very happy to do our part and work together with you on these very important issues.”
Aaron Hamilton presented the CVRD representatives with a framed print of the LCFN’s logo.
“It’s more than a logo for us, it really does symbolize our origin story,” he said.
Accompanying Lefebure from the CVRD were directors Klaus Kuhn, Ian Morrison, Bob Day, Alison Nicholson, and Kerry Davis.