First Nations Land Use Planning
Over the next decade, the constitutional imperative of Aboriginal Title and Rights recognition will result in fundamental shifts to the laws and policies governing land, resources and community development in BC.
West Coast Environmental Law has been at the forefront in providing legal and strategic advice to First Nations and First Nations political organisations to inform these shifts. This has included crafting law reform solutions that honourably address Aboriginal Title and Rights and foster ecological and cultural sustainability.
In particular, developing strategic land use plans can be a powerful way for a First Nation to exercise its Aboriginal Title and ‘translate’ its laws and the wisdom of its Elders into maps and written rules that communicate its choices about land and water use to the government and third parties.
The government’s constitutional duties to accommodate First Nations when land and resource decisions are made create important leverage to enforce and implement First Nations’ plans, including necessary law reform. Provincial law and policy currently present barriers to respecting, implementing and enforcing the outcomes from First Nations’ land use planning processes. Law and policy reform is essential to remove these barriers and create a framework for land use planning that deals honourably with Aboriginal Title and Rights.