Dear members of Oak Bay Council:
As you know, ReconciliACTION Oak Bay wholeheartedly supports the restart of the process to determine the future of the Oak Bay marina/Spewhung lands, buildings and waters made possible by the July 18 announcement from the District that it was concluding Request for Proposals OBMH 07-2020 (Lease of Oak Bay Marina Lands and Marina) by a five-year lease extension with the Oak Bay Marine Group.
Critical to getting this restarted in a good way is for the District to begin a conversation as soon as possible with the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations about how to create a meaningful and respectful process based on exploring mutual aspirations and the possibilities for partnership and collaboration between the Nations on the one hand, and the District and community of Oak Bay on the other.
There can be no Reconciliation in the absence of justice and the recognition of these lands as Lekwungen territory. We must also recognize that the current prosperity of our community has been built through our use of Lekwungen land. In the words of Chief Sam of the Songhees Nation quoted in the August 11 Oak Bay News, “You can’t have reconciliation without true economic reconciliation.”
With this in mind, we respectfully request that Council announce that it will:
(a) reach out to the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations no later than Sept. 15 to begin this conversation in advance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation;
(b) formally recognize that responsibility for building the relationship with the Nations on this opportunity, and more generally, resides with Council as a whole, not any individual member; and
(c) commit to updating the community at least quarterly on the status of its relationship with the Nations and on its efforts and activities to build a strong relationship.
Yours sincerely, on behalf of ReconciliACTION Oak Bay,
The Rev’d Canon Craig Hiebert
Rev. Michelle Slater
cc: Chief Rob Thomas, Esquimalt Nation
Chief Ron Sam, Songhees Nation
ReconciliACTION Oak Bay is a collaboration of Oak Bay-based organizations committed to taking concrete action to advance Reconciliation in our community. Its members are: Community Association of Oak Bay, Oak Bay United Church, St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Oak Bay Heritage Foundation and the UVic Living Lab Project.