Rhonda Lee McIsaac —
Nung Hl Giiyas Sean Brennan a self-professed “Old Massett boy” brings over 10 years of on-the-job forestry experience to the Solutions Table for the Council of the Haida Nation.
He began working in the field at 18 and moved up the ranks gaining experience and knowledge while spending time with Elders, learning from other experts and improving his knowledge of Haida Gwaii’s flora and fauna.
“I have a lot of on-the-job experience which has done me well,” said Nung Hl Giiyas. “And I am now responsible for the technical aspect of the Solutions Table.”
The Solutions Table was established in 2011 and is the process by which licensees, tenure holders and other developers go through to propose any development on Haida Gwaii. This shared decision-making process is a result of the Haida Nation and BC signing the Kunst’aa guu – Kunst’aayah Reconciliation Protocol in 2009 and the Table is co-chaired by Colin Richardson for the Haida Nation and Mark Salzl for the Province of BC.
Nung Hl Giiyas takes his position seriously and sees that many other nations are watching the Solutions Table activity. The Haida Nation is often seen as a shining light in the province for land protection and at a recent meeting with Coastal First Nations he felt the full weight of that expectation and the “duty to do things right”, not only for the Haida Nation, but as a model for others too.
We’ve inspired a lot of nations and the scrutiny is encouraging rather than restrictive, he says. “I began this position in November 2015 and I’m still getting my feet wet!”
Nung Hl Giiyas was just hired into the position when the Mount Moresby Adventure Camp dispute with the province and Timber West was in full swing. A 16-hectare cut block adjacent to the Mount Moresby Adventure Camp was set to be logged by Teal Jones against the wishes of the society that operates the camp and the Haida Nation. The Mount Moresby Adventure Camp has been operating for over ten years and is a place that children learn about the forest.
“That was a pretty good introduction to the role of the Solutions Table!” he explained. “I am enjoying this position and if anyone wants to contact me at the office, I’m here to answer questions.”
To reach Nung Hl Giiyas email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250 626 6058.
THE SOLUTIONS TABLE EXPLAINED
The Solutions Table process is straightforward. Applications for land-use alterations, logging, aquaculture and mining permits, etc. are put into the system through FrontCounterBC HaidaGwaii, located at the ministry office in Queen Charlotte. FCBCHG is designed to be a one-stop service that works with people and businesses to move their applications through the referral and approval process. This process is new in that, now, all Haida process and provincial natural resource ministries and agencies can be accessed through one portal. Business applications are vetted and funneled into one of two process streams.
For what are considered routine applications (Scenario 1), such as replacing an old culvert, there is a projected 1- to 14-day turnaround. If the application meets the criteria and there are no problems, it is then examined by the Solutions Table co-chairs and recommended directly to the provincial statutory decision-maker and to the CHN Vice-president who signs off for the Heritage and Natural Resource Committee.
The Scenario 2 process is designed for projects that need in-depth scrutiny, such as logging plans or mining applications. The table hopes to move applications through this process in about 60 days. To keep applications moving, and for the Solutions table to gather the information required to make recommendations, they can call on local provincial and Haida experts and, if necessary, hire consultants. Once the applications have been pored over, the Solutions Table makes its recommendations to the CHN and province for sign off.