Belledune Port Authority signed an agreement with First Nation communities which enables all parties involved to explore the development of a framework for consultation on matters related to the Port and potential future projects.
Chief Everett Martin was present to sign the letter on behalf of the Eel River Bar First Nation, as well as Chief David Peter-Paul of Pabineau First Nation. Chief Rebecca Knockwood and Chief George Ginnish signed on behalf of Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Inc. Denis Caron, Port President & CEO was also present for the signing.
“The port of Belledune is situated on the traditional land of the Mi’gmaq people”, said Caron. “As a neighbour, the Port is seeking to develop long-term relationships with the First Nation communities that are based on good faith, respect and transparency. Today, the Port and the communities of Eel River Bar First Nation and Pabineau First Nation are forging a path forward that is practical, respectful and supportive of the values and traditions promoting a long-term sustainable economic future together.”
The agreement is designed to foster respectful long-term relationships, support the revitalization of the Mi’gmaq communities, encourage greater opportunities for Mi’gmaq economic participation and facilitate economic links between the Mi’gmaq communities and business proponents interested in developing on port land and/or utilizing port facilities.
“We are pleased that Port of Belledune has reached out to the First Nation Communities and recognizes our desire to participate in contributing to the prosperity of the region,” said Chief David Peter-Paul.
During the past six months, the Port welcomed members from all five First Nation communities within the immediate region including Pabineau, Eel River Bar, Listuguj, Gesgapegiag and Gespeg, for introductory meetings. The parties continued to have follow up meetings in an effort to purposeful consultation and accommodation, and there continues to be ongoing discussion on how all parties can work together collaboratively.
“We recognize the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the Mi’gmaq people,” said Caron. “We will continue to engage with our neighbours on future projects and work together in a shared effort to revitalize Northern New Brunswick.”