Opening ceremonies were held Wednesday morning for the 2019 North Central Local Government Association’s AGM and Convention taking place in Williams Lake.
Leading the opening ceremonies with traditional song and prayer was Williams Lake Indian Band elder Virginia Gilbert followed with welcoming remarks by Chief Willie Sellars, Mayor Walt Cobb, and CRD Chair Margo Wagner.
“I got asked the other day when is reconciliation going to be achieved and I thought about it since and it’s not something that I can give an answer on,” Sellars said.
“When we have acknowledgments to the territory we stop and talk about partnerships, we talk about collaborating, educating those non-indigenous folks on what an actual first nations relationship means and I ask everybody in this room to start thinking about that and getting your heads around it…”
“Over the last five years what I’ve seen in this region especially is we’ve been building that relationship with the City of Williams Lake, with the provincial government, and building that relationship with the Cariboo Regional District, and that’s how we envision reconciliation happening. Building those relationships and actually getting stuff done for this region that’s not only going to benefit the WLIB but also the economy here in this region.”
Mayor Walt Cobb said fitting with the AGM’s theme ‘Naturally Resourceful’ we have proven over the years that we are not only resourceful but resilient.
“As history repeats itself we again have a sympathetic federal and provincial government, and the anti-development movement is flexing their muscles and infiltrating and funding many different local and nonprofit groups to stop development,” he said.
“We in rural BC are once again put to the test so we must stay strong and united if we are to maintain our communities and our lifestyle.”
CRD Chair Margo Wagner said it’s a great honor to be on Secwepemc Traditional Territory.
“The Cariboo Regional District covers a lot of traditional territory, different ones so it’ learning for all of us at the Cariboo Regional District,” she said.
“We’re over 80,000 square kilometers so it’s been an interesting journey.”‘
“We are certainly impacted by some of the economic issues that Mayor Cobb raised,” she added.
“Forestry obviously being one of the major ones, and we do work together. We are aware that a lot of the problems and problem-solving will fall on the shoulders of the regional districts and we are working towards that.”
The NCLGA AGM and Convention wraps up Friday, May 10
There are 270 registrants.