Discussions of Indigenous revenue sharing slowed by pandemic

 | November 3, 2021
Photo: Zuzy Rocka

Over the past two years, Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM), the provincial government and neighbouring First Nations bands have been discussing a resort revenue sharing package.

The Little Shuswap Lake Band (LSLB) has been leading the discussion with the provincial government, but Councilor Aaron Arnouse of LSLB said they haven’t been able to meet for a while in-person. 

“It kind of slowed down a lot when COVID hit,” said Arnouse. “It’s still in a delayed process a little bit.”

Arnouse said he is unsure when a revenue sharing package will be formed, but said LSLB has had a good relationship with the province during these discussions.

“We are trying to work in good faith with everyone involved, so that it’s a good process.”

Mayor Al Raine and chief administrative officer Shane Bourke have also been meeting with the provincial minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, Murray Rankin. 

Raine said there have been some complications with planning a revenue sharing package.

“[Ski areas] share a percentage of lease revenues and land sale revenues from the resorts with the bands, but part of it is based on incremental revenues,” he said.

Incremental revenues is the profit a business gains from an increase in sales. Raine said LSLB pushed back on that because the effect of COVID-19 has reduced revenue in Sun Peaks.

Raine advocated for total revenue sharing instead.

“It seems a bit unfair when you’re dealing with title and rights because title and rights didn’t start last year. It’s been there for a long time, and that’s something the government is wrestling with.”