British Columbia

Vancouver International Airport and Musqueam First Nation sign 30-year agreement

The Vancouver International Airport says it will give one per cent of its annual gross revenue for the next 30 years to the Musqueam Indian Band as part of an agreement signed Thursday.

YVR to give 1% of annual gross revenue and 10 scholarships per year to Musqueam Indian Band

Vancouver International Airport CEO Craig Richmond and Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow sign 30-year agreement on June 21, 2017. (David Horemans/CBC)

The Vancouver International Airport says it will give one per cent of its annual gross revenue for the next 30 years to the Musqueam Indian Band as part of an agreement signed Thursday.

Under the Sustainability and Friendship Agreement, the Musqueam will receive $5 million in airport revenue this year.

The Musqueam will also receive 10 scholarships per year worth $10,000 each for its members to attend schools and training programs.

The airport has occupied the Musqueam's traditional territory since 1931.

"This is one of the most emotional days I've had," Musqueam Coun. Wendy John said at the announcement, made on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

"I look at our council and at our elders and I say, this is only the beginning."

YVR and the Musqueam have agreed to work on environmental strategies to protect the land around Sea Island.

They'll also co-host an annual workshop to address the airport's noise impact on its members.

The airport plans to hire a "relationship manager" from the band. Both groups will appoint senior members to a committee to make sure the commitments are met.

"I'm thrilled to think about how this will turn out," said YVR president and CEO Craig Richmond.

"In 15 years, for example, how will the agreement have shaped the economy of the Musqueam? How will the Musqueam culture and the influx of their bright young minds have changed YVR? It's very exciting for both of us."

Musqueam officials acknowledged negotiations with the airport were stressful at times.

"There's still a little bit of doubt and trust in our community," said Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow.

"But I tried to give the encouragement to our community last night that I believe the words of … the [YVR] board and all the staff."

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