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Metchosin to consult with Sc’ianew First Nation over suggested reconciliation fund

A group of residents pitched the fund to council, which is similar to actions taken by City of Victoria
Mayor John Ranns said Metchosin and the Sc’ianew (Beecher Bay) First Nation have been building a relationship for years. From left to right, Craig Davis, president of Pearson College, Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, Sc’ianew First Nations Chief Russ Chipps and Katie Black, executive director of Habitat Acquisition Trust signing the standstill agreement on Feb. 24, 2022. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)

Metchosin council pushed pause on a resident proposed voluntary reconciliation fund, similar to the one passed by the City of Victoria, until consultation with the Sc’ianew (Beecher Bay) First Nation takes place.

Eleven residents wrote a letter calling on council to consider a fund that would raise money for Sc’ianew as a means of furthering reconciliation.

The group asked that the finance and environment committee consider the fund, in the hopes of seeing it introduced for the 2023 tax year.

They pointed to Victoria as an example – the city passed a similar proposal on April 7. The city’s fund will involve Victoria sending a note with property tax notices urging residents to give between 5 to 10 per cent of the amount of their tax bill to the fund. That money is then donated to the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations.

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Coun. Andy MacKinnon, who is chair of the finance and environment committee, said he thought consultation should take place with the Sc’ianew (Beecher Bay) First Nation before the committee could consider the motion.

Mayor John Ranns agreed, saying the district has worked on building relations with Sc’ianew for years, and that he’s seen similar reconciliation efforts elsewhere fail because there wasn’t sufficient consultation and relationship building beforehand.

“The real relationship building has taken place on a day-to-day basis.”

Other residents opposed the idea. A letter signed by Valerie Jaeger, president of the Metchosin Foundation – who had also been sent the letter from the group of residents – said they couldn’t support the proposal but didn’t explain why. The Goldstream Gazette reached out to the foundation for further coment.

Ultimately council voted to receive the letter written by residents and reach out to Sc’ianew on the issue.

The Goldstream Gazette also reached out to Sc’ianew (Beecher Bay) First Nation for their thoughts.

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