First Nation Issues

thumb Rabbitkettle LakeWe pledge to listen, repeatedly, to Knowledge Holders, Community Advisory Groups, Elders and Chiefs, to ensure on an on-going basis that we understand the resource issues from the traditional and cultural perspective that are embedded within our client's collective memory.

We will repeat back to our First Nation clients our understanding of the mandate that they have asked us to work on. Only then will we begin our technical and professional analysis of the actual natural resources, the analysis of Cumulative Environmental Impacts and Climate Change, the technical environmental evaluation, and the local, provincial and jurisidictional arrangements currently in place,  the legal basis for their water and environmental management activities, the interface betwen jurisdictions and on the ground enforcement policies (or lack thereof) that define the the totality of current natural resource management across the traditional territory.

We apply this approach to both treaty and resource development reviews.

First Nations Specific Negotiation Experience

BOA Ltd. was selected by the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group to prepare chapters and provide table negotiation support and strategy for chapters on Environmental Assessment, Sub-surface management, Environmental Protection, Water Resource Management, and, Shared Decision Making. We spent five years working with Hul'qumi'num community working groups, from whom the ground-up mandates were conveyed to me by community knowledge holders, Elders and Chiefs. Brian Olding directly assisted at the tripartite table negotiations for assigned chapters.

Federal Negotiation Experience

Brian Olding M.Env.Des., worked for five years with the Federal Treaty Negotiation Office on environmental and water mandate development. Brian Olding chaired the British Columbia Treaty Negotiation Advisory Committee, carried out evaluations of First Nation regional resource management initiatives in British Columbia, managed the BC Capacity Initiative, components of Treaty Related Measures and the Canada-BC Information Sharing Agreement, for which his Team won the first Federal Treaty Office Outstanding Achievement and Award of Excellence.

It Is Absolutely Critical that You Have Secure Access to Clean Water

thumb kitasoo oil spill

This applies to EA analysis of proposed projects as well as to the negotiation of the Water Chapter in treaty negotiations. Water is your most important resource. Without access to clean, fresh water you will not have healthy salmon polulations, you will not have water available for new housing projects, and your future economic development will be severely curtailed by lack of fresh water. There are three major reasons why First Nations are now finding access to clean, fresh water supplies ever more difficult:

Provincial Over Licensing

The first reason involves the history of government water licencing in British Columbia which has over allocated available river and lake supplies to domestic, irrigation and commercial uses beyond what the rivers and lakes are capable of supplying. In many areas of British Columbia we are running out of water supplies, exactly when they are most needed, in the summer time, because too many users are licenced to withdraw water from dwindling sources.

This particularly troubling due to the current lack of a Cumulative Environmental Impact Strategy that would leave water for decion makers in future generations as opposed to maxxing out supplies for curent economic development. The groundwater withdrawal situation is even worse. Most groundwater sources (called aquifers) are poorly understood.  And there is no comprehensive groundwater licensing system in place to ensure fair and equitable access to this prescious resource.

The Impact of Climate Change

The second reason for lack of access to water supplies is the increasing impact of climate change on the pattern of precipitation across British Columbia. In many areas more intense rains are falling during the winter, but rising spring temperatures quickly melt any snow that would otherwise be stored for the summer when its really nedeed.

Add to this the fact that summers have been becoming distinctly drier and you have the makings of water conflicts and severe competition for a declining resource. This means less water for fish, less water for cultural preservation and less water available for the next generation of environmental planners.

Aboriginal Water Rights

Aboriginal water rights, in the true sense of the term, have not been recognized in British Columbia.

Project Analysis for Water Allocation, Planning and Monitoring

thumb Great Slave LakeWhenever you are considering allocating a significant component of a water body (e.g. river, lake, groundwater) for a major project, you must undertake a supply demand analysis. This analysis must consider the entire some level of river basin planning to ensure that water allocation is transparent, democratic and sustainable. There are two steps in this process. First the planners must learn to understand the ecosystem, including the existing Cumulative Environmental Impacts, by examining available monitoring (N.B. available monitoring is usually seriously incomplete). Secondly, a planning and decision making process must be designed that corresponds to sustainable, shared decision making for all residents. We bring our professional environmental knowledge, facilitation skills, knowledge of government organization, particularly at the federal, First Nation and provincial levels, and bring in Associate expertise as required, to address and resolve these allocation issues.

In situations where there is insufficient monitoring information to enable informed decision making (which is more often the case) we will develop specific strategies to effectively respond to information gaps.

Negotiating the Water Chapter in Treaty Negotiations                                                                                                       

  The fundamental point in the negotiation of the Water Chapter, is to ensure that theCommunities will have reasonable access to clean, sustainable water supplies throughout their lands. The achievement of this goal is becoming increasingly difficult due to past over-licencing by the provincial government, which has led to decreasing supplies of water when and where needed, and sharply increased competition today for what water is left.

We examine all of these factors from both a Community perspective (Knowledge Holders, Elders, youth and Chiefs) and from a technical, professional perspective in order to obtain a vision of present and future water issues which provides the foundation on which a successful water negotiation strategy is based.

Relationship to Climate Change

Today rivers are not behaving as they once did. The timing of precipitation has been substantially changed for many river basins in British Columbia, meaning in some cases that water availability is at all time lows precisely when it it is most needed. Spring snow pack melt is occurring earlier, leaving less available water in mid to late summer months, while the incidence of extreme precipitation events is increasing in both intensity and frequency.

The entire approach to negotiating water allocation has been severely impacted by climate change, which may mean that you will soon not have water when you most need it. There are a range of negotiation strategies that can be employed to address this issue, the fundamental point being that there must be sufficient water provided for in any anlaysis of proposed projects, as well as in the negotiation of the Water Chapter in the treaty process, to ensure that the key Community needs are provided for on a sustainable basis.

 

Water Resource Management Experience

thumb YK sampling 2webBrian Olding M.Env.Des., has carried out environmental planning in B.C., was the former Head of Environment Canada's Water Quality Branch for northern Canada, and has extensive field experience in monitoring design, sampling, laboratory coordination, oil spill monitoring and clean up, contaminated site management, national park experience, as well as water negotiation mandate development in both the federal government and First Nation negotiation environments. He has personally reviewed the water component of hundreds of EA project assessments.

First Nations Treaty Negotiation Experience

BOA Ltd. was selected by the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group to prepare chapters and provide table negotiation support and strategy for chapters on Environmental Assessment, Sub-surface management, Environmental Protection, Water Resource Management, and, Shared Decision Making. We spent five years working with Hul'qumi'num community working groups, from whom the ground-up mandates were conveyed to me bu community knowledge holders, Elders and Chiefs. Brian Olding directly assisted at the tripartite table negotiations for assigned chapters.

Environmental Assessment

thumb hazeltine creek at quesnel l mouth june 11One of our recent EA's was carried out through a collaborative process negotiated by two First Nations and a mining corporation.

BOA Ltd. wase retained by the T'exelc Williams Lake Indian Band, the Xat'sull Soda Creek First Nations, and Imperial Metal's Mount Polley Mining Corporation, to undertake an independent and objective review of Mount Polley's proposal and permit application with the BC Ministry of Environment to discharge overflow from the mine's tailings lagoon to a creek leading into Quesnel Lake, home to one of British Columbia's most important sockeye populations.  This is the first time in British Columbia that a mining corporation and First Nations have undertaken a collaborative review of a single project together.

We brought in LGL Ltd., Sydney, BC for this project due to their comprehensive fisheries expertise. Our review covered over two thousand pages of technical documentation and included a detailed analysis of hydrology data gathering, effluent dilution calculations, pollutant transfer via sediment discharge, fish ecology and traditional use of the fishery, terrestial biodiversity, the complex development of site-specific water quality objectives, discharge and ambient monitoring plans, contingnency plans, First Nation consultation and participation, as well as a series of recommended corporate committments.

We identified important data gaps and provided specific recommendations on how these gaps would be best addressed. The Final Report was prepared independently by Brian Olding & Associates Ltd. and delivered to all Parties simultaneously so that no third party editing would be able to influence our review and recommendations. The Final report is currently under review by the BC Ministry of Environment.

Land Transfers and Treaty Negotiations

thumb Esquimalt Web 2When you are involved in pre-treaty land transfers, or treaty negotiations over lands, you must ensure that those lands are carefully subjected to an Environmental Evaluation so that you fully appreciate the present environmental health of those lands.

An Environmental Evaluation is an overview scan of the current environmental state and condition of your lands. This entails being aware of the current extent, nature and state of environmental issues ranging from habitat destruction to  pollution from chemical contamination.

We will evaluate your lands for all suspected or known contaminated sites. If one or more contaminated sites are present on your lands, or lands to be acquired, you will require a strategy for site remediation in order to bring these sites back to a full state of environmental health. Depending on the level of contamination, families may not be permitted to use these lands, which means you may not be able to proceed with housing developments or other intended uses. The remediation strategy will competently address these issues so that it can be introduced into your comprehensive negotiation strategy over your lands.

  

First Nations EA Experience

Brian Olding, M.Env.Des., worked with the Vancouver office of INAC reviewing all categories of proposed development projects impacting First Nations lands throughout British Columbia. This work included the two year management of one of Canada's largest contaminated sites, located on the Esquimalt Reserve, where land that had been contaminated with chlorophenols (historically used in wood mill processes on the reserve lands) was restored to full residential use for the Esquimalt First Nation Community. Similar work included the management and recovery of a significant oil spill that had taken place in Klemtu on the Kitasoo Reserve.

Brian Olding & Associates Ltd. were selected by the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group to prepare chapters and provide table negotiation support and strategy for chapters on Environmental Assessment, Sub-surface management, Environmental Protection, Water Resource Management, and, Shared Decision Making. We spent five years working with Hul'qumi'num community working groups, from whom the ground-up mandates were conveyed by community knowledge holders, Elders and Chiefs.

thumb catalyst mill vancouer sunOur most recent First Nation EA was carried out at the request of the Halalt First Nation to review the marine and atmospheric impacts of the Crofton pulp and paper mill on the Halalt Community and on Halalt's natural resources, including the impact on the food chain for their sea and beach foods. We reviewed the excellent work carried out by Hatfield Consultants who implemented the environmental effect monitoring program mandated by DFO pursuant to the Fisheries Act for pulp and paper mills. Through this review we identified the persistence of dioxins in the hepatopancreas of nearby Dungeness Crab populations. We also reviewed air emission contaminants from the mill, principally through retained and peer - reviewed studies of the air emissions from the mill. The initial studies retained by the mill were found to have serious deficiencies. We further identified the need for a renewed human health risk assessment to be carried out for adjacent communities.

Environmental Management Experience

Brian Olding has 25 years of hands on environmental management experience. He has carried out environmental planning in B.C., was the former Head of Environment Canada's Water Quality Branch for five years for northern Canada, and has extensive field experience in environmental monitoring design, field sampling, laboratory coordination, oil spill monitoring and clean up, contaminated site management, national park experience, as well as environmental negotiation mandate development in both the federal and first nation environments. He has worked on provincial, federal and First Nation environmental planning and review Boards.

thumb imgShared Decision Making means different things to different persons. For us Shared Decision Making provides a bridge for joint policy development and co-management over natural resource responsibilities. A major component of our Mission at Brian Olding & Associates Ltd. is to work effectively with First Nations and partner governments to establish a mutually desired strategic direction over the management of natural resources. We have the experience and expertise to bridge across this complex jurisdictional environment.

Brian Olding M.Env.Des., co-authored the Hul'qumi'num publication, "A Call to Action" . We drew upon the strengths of the Hul'qumi'num Elders and Community members as well as many First Nations across British Columbia, Canada and beyond, who had gone before us when designing a jurisdictional model for Shared decision Making of natural resources across traditional territories. Our model has been widely disseminated throughout the federal, provincial and First Nation communities.

Comanagement will require a tremendous growth in expertise at the local level, and if there is one resource that First Nations have in abundance, it is the youth within their communities that will be taking on the resource management responsibilities as the community capacity evolves. We view the future of first nation as particularly promising in so far as they are priviledged with a traditional inheritance that grounds their academic training and professional performance.

First Nation management will be critical to integrating a pre-industrial environmental baseline in order to address the complex challenges of Cumulative Environmental Impacts, climate change and doing our best to balance resource development in a sustainable manner. 

First Nations Negotiation Experience

BOA Ltd. was selected by the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group to prepare chapters and provide table negotiation support and strategy for chapters on Environmental Assessment, Sub-surface management, Environmental Protection, Water Resource Management, and, Shared Decision Making. We spent five years working with Hul'qumi'num community working groups, from whom the ground-up mandates were conveyed to me by community knowledge holders, Elders and Chiefs. Brian Olding directly assisted at the tripartite table negotiations for assigned chapters. 

Federal Negotiation Experience

Brian Olding M.Env.Des., worked with the Federal Government on environmental and water mandate development, Chaired the Treaty Negotiation Advisory Committee, carried out evaluations of first nation regional resource management and managed the BC Capacity Initiative, components of Treaty Related Measures and the Canada-BC Information Sharing Agreement, for which his Team won the first Federal Treaty Office Outstanding Achievement and Award of Excellence.

Contact Brian Olding & Associates Ltd.

E-mail: brian@brianolding.com

Telephone:   604.531.7132

Mobile:         604.790.1948

Thank you for your visit. If you have an issue or concern that you would like to discuss with Brian Olding, please email or call me directly. We are experienced in working with Chiefs, Elders, Staff, Cabinet Ministers, Corporate Officers and Professional Colleagues from all aspects of Environmental Science.

Brian Olding M Env Des 2

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