Directors with the Cariboo Regional District are calling for cultural competency training to be provided to the next elected board.
The board voted last week to budget for training to be provided to directors after the next local government election this fall, and “potentially on an ongoing basis in the future.”
Part of the initiative will include “informal relationship-building sessions,” described as sharing a meal between local area directors, the CRD chair and Indigenous leaders in the community.
The motion to provide funds for the training and informal meetings came from the Feb. 9 First Nations Relations Committee meeting, and several directors spoke in favour of the initiative last week.
“I think it’s a great idea, that’s the way you build relationships,” Director John Massier (Barlow Creek – Barkerville) said of the informal nature of the proposed sessions.
“It’s something that we need to do, starting with the next term to get everybody off on the right foot.”
Al Richmond, area director for 108 Mile Ranch and Lac La Hache said he agreed that engaging with local Indigenous leaders was a good initiative to pursue.
“Anything that we can do to forward us with a better understanding of culture and a better understanding of their concerns is positive,” Richmond said.
Director Ivan Bonnell (Williams Lake) said he supported the philosophy behind the resolution but questioned the funding and allocation of the costs. Staff noted that board training was funded through the administration budget, and Bonnell replied that he would be voting against the motion.
Staff later told the Free Press that there is no specific amount allocated to fund the cultural training, and that grants through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities would also be explored to help offset costs.