The government of British Columbia and the Squamish First Nation signed an historic Sea-to-Sky agreement on September 12, 2008. The agreement allows the province to widen the Sea-to-Sky Highway through portions of the Squamish claimed traditional territory, while enabling the Squamish to pursue economic development opportunities created by the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project and the 2010 Winter Games.
Previously, on December 15, 2006, the government of British Columbia and the Lil’wat First Nation signed a similar agreement. These agreements give the province certainty that the entire length of the existing and improved Sea-to-Sky Highway, approximately 135 kilometres, will be free from any rights and interest claims by the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations. The agreements also secure tenure where the existing highway crosses reserve land and secure access to First Nations land that is needed for the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project.
Through the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project, the province is increasing safety, reliability, and capacity on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, which links communities from West Vancouver to Whistler. The project includes highway widening and straightening for improved sightlines. With added passing lanes and other design innovations, hazards will be reduced and capacity increased. When improvements are completed in 2009, travel will be safer and more reliable for residents, commuters and visitors.
“This is an incredible opportunity for government and First Nations to join together in partnership and solidarity,” said Minister Falcon. “This agreement will create new prospects for more jobs, training, and excellent economic opportunities for the Squamish First Nation. It also allows the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project to move forward, and ultimately improve the safety and efficiency of the highway, both now and into the future.”