Kwantlen First Nation, səýeḿ, Eric Woodward Foundation and Fort Langley Properties Ltd. have confirmed a significant long-term economic partnership for two commercial land assemblies within Fort Langley.
Kwantlen First Nation, ("KFN"), səýeḿ and Fort Langley Properties Ltd ("FLPL") along with the Eric Woodward Foundation ("EWF") are jointly announcing today a significant land and economic development partnership involving its two land assemblies in the commercial core of Fort Langley, totalling approximately three acres of commercial, mixed-use real estate.
These two development sites will be added to existing Kwantlen First Nation reserve land holdings through the newly streamlined federal Additions to Reserve (ATR) Process overseen by the Government of Canada. The partnership group will then develop these properties as part of a long-term lease agreement.
Pursuing the principles of The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, this unique long-term partnership represents a significant opportunity in private-public reconciliation. The agreement returns a portion of its ancestral lands within Fort Langley to the Kwantlen First Nation and its members, accruing considerable future economic benefit.
"Kwantlen has been growing tremendously in capacity and working tirelessly to promote meaningful partnerships within our territories for our next seven generations. Relationships mean everything to us, and we are so very excited to be a part of this opportunity within Fort Langley. We look forward to the work ahead with our valued partners. This is an amazing step towards reconciliation, helping to strengthen the Kwantlen First Nation and promote ourselves as a key partner and leader in our regional economy", said Chief Marilyn Gabriel.
Eric Woodward, co-founder and Director of the Eric Woodward Foundation, and a Township of Langley Councillor, added, "This is a monumental step forward in adding the Kwantlen First Nation as a true economic partner within the commercial core of the village of Fort Langley. It will provide a great legacy for future generations within Langley."
"BC is the first province to pass legislation on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, providing a framework for reconciliation that will give us a path forward, creating clarity and predictability for all people in British Columbia," said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. "It's great to see partnerships like this one demonstrating the real benefits of reconciliation - that by working together, we get better outcomes that benefit First Nations, governments, and the communities and people they serve."
Work is now underway to officially begin the Addition to Reserve process, which can take up to three to five years. The process includes dialogue with the Township of Langley, consultation with nearby First
Nations, and a referendum for approval by the Kwantlen First Nation membership. At its conclusion with the Government of Canada, the Kwantlen First Nation can issue the approval to proceed with the administration and economic development of its reserve territory.
This is a monumental step forward in adding the Kwantlen First Nation as a true economic partner within the commercial core of the village of Fort Langley. It will provide a great legacy for future generations within Langley.— Eric Woodward
For the benefit of the KFN and Fort Langley residents, businesses, and the Township of Langley overall, this economic partnership will bring additional development opportunity to the commercial core of Fort Langley.
"As the Birthplace of BC, Fort Langley is the natural location for a partnership of this scope, character, and uniqueness. We couldn’t be more excited," added Eric Woodward. "We believe strongly in the values of partnership, strategic vision, and sustainable development opportunities that reflect and honour traditional laws and teachings that have guided our people for countless generations," said Chief Marilyn Gabriel.
About Kwantlen First Nation
The Kwantlen First Nation is a progressive community with traditional territory that includes Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Surrey, New Westminster and Richmond. We have grown tremendously in capacity over the last decade, establishing our economic group, səýeḿ. We are working to participate, rebuild and strengthen ourselves as a key partner and leader in our regional economy.
səýeḿ is in business to economically support the programs and services of our growing Kwantlen community and be a viable contributor to the local and regional economy. We believe strongly in the values of partnership, strategic vision, and sustainable development opportunities that reflect and honour traditional laws and teachings that have guided our people for countless generations.
About The Eric Woodward Foundation and Fort Langley Properties Ltd
The Eric Woodward Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2019 to support charitable organizations and worthwhile efforts within Greater Langley. It is a Fort Langley organization of local residents and business people dedicated and committed to Fort Langley for community benefit, not just profit.
Fort Langley Properties Ltd is a corporate holding company, also formed in 2019, which will complete the economic development. It is irrevocably, legally bound to donate all of its profits to the Eric Woodward Foundation and/or other designated charitable or non-profit entities within Greater Langley, such as the Township of Langley, Langley School District Foundation, or the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Langley’s Eric Woodward to transfer tens of millions in Fort Langley property holdings and development profits to charitable foundation.
Three Fort Langley pending mixed-used commercial development sites and existing holdings of Eric Woodward’s Statewood Properties Ltd. will be irrevocably transferred to the newly-formed Eric Woodward Foundation beginning in 2019. These holdings currently represent a combined value of approximately $55 million.