Press Release: Stó:lō First Nations environmental services firm signs partnership with SNC - Lavalin at GLOBE 2012
Stó:lō First Nations environmental services firm signs partnership with SNC - Lavalin at GLOBE 2012
CHILLIWACK, BC (March 20, 2012) - In addition to demonstrating its environmental monitoring and site restoration expertise to an international audience at GLOBE 2012 (March 14-16, 2012), the Aboriginal-owned Seven Generation Environmental Services (SGES) company also announced an exciting partnership with SNC - Lavalin that will see SGES working collaboratively on future development projects on and off their traditional territories.
“SNC-Lavalin is extremely pleased to be a partner with Seven Generations Environmental Services Ltd.” said Stephen Lindley, Vice President, Aboriginal & Northern Affairs for SNC - Lavalin. “SGES brings to the partnership not only technical expertise but also a rich cultural connection to the land that will inform our team and strengthen our collective work.”
SGES was created in 2011, when six Stó:lō First Nations (Aitchelitz, Leq’á:mel, Skawahlook, Skowkale, Tzeachten and Yakweakwioose) came together in response to BC Hydro's Interior to Lower Mainland (ILM) Transmission Project, a $700-million project that will expand the Crown corporation's ability to deliver energy from the Interior to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
For Grand Chief Joe Hall, the Chair of the Board of SGES, the Hydro infrastructure project presented an immediate opportunity to create a First Nations company that would provide meaningful training and employment for Aboriginal people while also ensuring they can become more actively involved and connected with the long-term stewardship and sustainability of the land.
The newly formed SGES partnered with Nanaimo-based Vancouver Island University, which customized its renowned applied-learning Natural Resources Extension Program and delivered the instruction and training in Chilliwack to 18 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal trainees. SGES commenced work with BC Hydro and SNC - Lavalin last week.
SGES's environmental technicians offer a wide range of environmental services such as:
Environmental, Construction & Infrastructure Monitoring
Erosion & Sediment Control Measures
Fish & Wildlife Surveys & Monitoring Programs
Fish & Amphibian Salvage & Inventory Capture
Project Compliance with Regulatory Approvals & Applicable Legislation
Soil & Water Quality Sampling & Monitoring Programs
Habitat Restoration & Post-Project Monitoring
Low Impact Stream Channel Maintenance & Culvert Assessments
Invasive Plant Species Removal
Riparian Planting & Restoration
“We believe projects and developments on traditional territory present opportunities for First Nations to create, own and operate relevant, professional and profitable enterprises," said Grand Chief Joe Hall. "Just as importantly, this approach and these Aboriginal-owned companies can also play a key role in providing land use certainty for business development."
Another symbol of the desire of BC First Nations to seek opportunities to build bridges outside of the courts, by developing partnerships that include First Nations businesses and skilled labour, is Tana Mussell, an environmental technician and team leader at SGES. Tana is the daughter of the late Chief Roy Mussell, a visionary among First Nations chiefs, who was a champion of collaboration, negotiation, environmental sustainability and capacity building - especially for Aboriginal youth.
"Land stewardship is a tremendously important issue for British Columbians and particularly for Aboriginal communities," says Mussel. "I'm proud to carry on the legacy of my father who dedicated his life to ensure that the next generation – our young people - had access to education and training and the supports they needed in order to be successful. His contributions to advance Aboriginal interests throughout the province included groundbreaking work with the Fraser Basin Council to promote sustainable development of the Fraser River. At SGES, we believe that our traditional knowledge, as well as our growing expertise in environmental assessment, monitoring and restoration, can play a key role in the success of environmental and infrastructure projects around the province. My dad would approve. He would be proud."
Grand Chief Hall, who was a close friend and colleague of Chief Roy Mussell, hopes that SGES will one day become the leading Aboriginal-owned provider of environmental monitoring and related services in British Columbia, where the defining sustainability principles of the company will be shared with and adopted by project stakeholders.
“We were pleased to work side-by-side with six Stó:lō communities to help create a training program that will see skilled aboriginal and non-aboriginal people employed on important projects throughout B.C., including BC Hydro’s Interior to Lower Mainland transmission project; a project which helps us meet the growing need for electricity in B.C.,” said Melissa Holland, BC Hydro’s Director of Major Projects.
Seven Generations sustainability is a First Nations belief urging the current generation to live sustainably, make decisions that do not negatively impact our children, as well as collectively work for the benefit of the next seven generations.
For more information, visit www.sges.ca
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Pace Group Seven Generations Environmental Services Ltd