Musqueam and City of Vancouver sign long-term agreement

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Vancouver and the Musqueam Indian Band have signed a long-term agreement on municipal services that is being described as one of the first modern partnerships of its kind between a city and a First Nation.

Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow said the new agreement is more of “a celebration of a relationship” between the city and the Musqueam.

“It doesn’t differ that much from the past agreements that we’ve had,” Sparrow told the Straight by phone. “We put in formulas to just keep continue moving forward so that we’re not expiring on those agreements.”

According to a City of Vancouver news release, the agreement “establishes a partnership in which the Musqueam Indian Band will acquire a wide variety of services including police, fire, animal control, water, and solid waste services through the City of Vancouver for market rates.”

The chief noted that municipalities are not legally bound to consult with First Nations.

“Legally they don’t have to, but they want to,” said Sparrow of the City of Vancouver.

Mayor Gregor Robertson described the partnership as “an excellent example of the opportunities for neighbouring governments to work together”.

“It shows the opportunities in the Lower Mainland for municipalities and First Nations to work together to positively advance their common objectives,” he said in a news release.

Vancouver and the Musqueam band have had servicing agreements for the provision of municipal services to the First Nation’s lands for more than 40 years, according to the city.

A celebration of the new agreement will take place at the Musqueam Cultural Pavilion at 5:30 p.m. this evening.

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