Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc

From Relationship Buildingto Economic Development:

Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc and the City of Kamloops

City of Kamloops-Map

Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc (TteS) is a progressive community that shares a common river valley with the City of Kamloops. The last 20 years have seen the TteS achieve very positive economic success which has been enhanced by the long standing servicing agreements they have established with the City of Kamloops. In 1996 the City and the TteS finalized a sanitary sewer serving agreement. This agreement allowed the TteS to proceed with the development of their lands without the need to construct a costly wastewater treatment facility.

The negotiation of the sanitary sewer servicing agreements came with many challenges and many differences that could easily have halted the process or resulted in a less mutually beneficial result. Among the many issues was the City’s concern regarding the impact that development on TteS lands would have on the City. They were concerned about the additional demand on roads, parks and other City amenities. However, strong leadership and a commitment at the political level between these two communities had been established at the beginning of the process and had been formalized in the form of a Statement of Political Relationship between the Chief and Council of the TteS and the Mayor and Council of the City of Kamloops. This document set out a joint understanding that both communities share the same river valley and it is in their mutual interest to “pursue a renewed and lasting relationship based on mutual respect and honour”.

At the time Chief Manny Jules and Kamloops Mayor Cliff Branchflower were the driving force behind this very important agreement. The Statement of Political Relationship renewed the relationship and confirmed the commitments between the two communities and provided the common ground upon which subsequent sanitary sewer servicing agreements could build upon. In the end the agreement recognized the views and concerns of both communities and resulted in a mutually beneficial arrangement that has lasted to this day. Both communities consider the resulting development that has occurred on TteS lands as being a positive addition to the region.

Key Lessons

  • Documenting and adopting a government-to-government vision and key relationship principles at the outset was critical to setting the context for negotiations and for implementing the Agreement
  • Growth and development in one community will inevitably have impacts, both positive and negative, on its neighboring community. Working together and building a strong relationship best enables communities to be open about their concerns for negative impacts and work together to mitigate them.