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LETTER: Oak Bay action on reconciliation slow in coming

It’s been more than three months since Oak Bay council unanimously passed a motion to create a council-community task force on reconciliation; to date no task force has been created.

It’s been more than a year since council unanimously passed a motion to advance reconciliation with the two First Nations, including initiating a place renaming program. No concrete action has been taken.

It’s also been more than a year since the district announced it had selected a proponent with whom it would negotiate the future of the publicly owned marina/Spewhung (Turkey Head) buildings, lands and waters, rejecting a proposal that included the Songhees Nation. There has been no public information provided on this process since last July, while community voices have consistently called for a restart, beginning with a conversation with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations about mutual aspirations.

It’s been more than six months since council unanimously passed a motion to inventory and review historical plaques in Oak Bay from a reconciliation perspective; despite promises to involve the community, nothing appears to have happened.

It’s been nearly three months since the district announced that it was partnering with the Songhees Nation on a Sitchanalth/Willows Shared Knowledge Project (the idea and partnership resulting from the efforts of MLA Murray Rankin); that’s the last we’ve heard of it.

And it’s been more than 3.5 years since Mayor Kevin Murdoch pledged in his inaugural address to make building strong relationships with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations a priority for council. Yet nothing of substance on this has been achieved. A freedom of information access request was necessary to verify that virtually no action has been taken to further this commitment.

Why the dearth of concrete action in Oak Bay in an area that is so critical? Other local councils have been able to move ahead on reconciliation in substantive ways. Why no meaningful action in Oak Bay?

Bruce Kilpatrick

Oak Bay

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