On June 14, 2010 the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), the City of Courtenay, the Town of Comox, the Village of Cumberland and the K'ómoks First Nation (KFN) signed a historic protocol agreement that lays out a shared understanding of key interests, and establishes a positive government-to-government relationship in the Comox Valley.
In 2008, the CVRD Board established a select committee to develop a Comox Valley local government and KFN protocol. Initial principles were identified and a series of reconciliation and recognition workshops were hosted by the K'ómoks First Nation, which elected and non-elected officials from the Comox Valley attended. Since July 2009, staff from K'ómoks First Nation and the Comox Valley local governments met numerous times and developed a shared understanding of key interests and worked through a number of draft documents.
The final protocol agreement captures the agreed-upon issues and interests:
The agreement is meant to serve as a beginning for more productive and detailed conversations regarding the following topics:
- Culture and heritage protection
- Environmental protection
- Intergovernmental coordination: improving communications with a focus on roles, responsibilities and aspirations
- Joint economic development
- Land use planning and management: including but not limited to regional growth strategies, official community plans, treaty land issues, resource management plans, provincial planning processes, park management, and other land use plans and regulations
- Property taxation issues
- Shared / reciprocal services
- K'ómoks / local government governance relations
- Emergency preparedness
- Consultation and accommodation
- Other key interests as agreed to by the parties
The protocol agreement has allowed for more detailed discussions regarding matters that are specific to individual parties to begin. The protocol agreement is seen as a high-level commitment to work together and share information amongst the parties. As some of the topics are addressed, action plans to find solutions to the issues will be developed, with input from political representatives, administration and technical experts.