Back in 2007, EcoPlan had the honour of working with Kwicksutaineuk Haxwa`mis First Nation (KHFN) on their first Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP). The plan focused on the redevelopment Gwa-yas-dums, their homeland village located on Gilford Island on BC’s midcoast. A major elements of the CCP was to develop an ecotourism industry to replace the resource jobs that once employed KHFN members in the area. At the heart of the ecotourism strategy is the restoration of their Bighouse. The Bighouse will be a hub for tourism activities like cultural feasts and tours, and due to its location facing the water, will act as a natural marketing tool for the many kayakers and boaters that pass through the channel.
On May 8, The Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICE-T) announced that it would be providing $120,000 towards restoration of KHFN’s Bighouse.
According to KHFN Chief Councillor Bob Chamberlin, “The Bighouse rebuild will contribute significantly to the economic opportunities envisioned within our Comprehensive Community Plan where Eco-cultural tourism was identified as a primary effort. It will also provide a safe and appropriate place for the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation’s culture to continue to flourish. Building from this strong foundation of Family, Community and Nation will especially serve our youth in many ways, which will create a brighter future for us all.”
It’s great to see that the CCP is still a guiding document 5 years after its initial creation. CCPs are community supported, holistic planning documents that address all facets of community life, including economic development, culture, language, housing, and infrastructure. By using the CCP as a guiding document, as KHFN is doing, the community can align decisions and actions towards the goals and visions in the CCP, and avoid ad hoc or reactionary activities.
Congratulations to Kwicksutaineuk Haxwa`mis First Nation! Full announcement can be found here.