Sekw’el’was Cayoose Creek Indian Band has entered into a working partnership with consulting engineering firm Kerr Wood Leidal Associates Ltd. (KWL) that Chief Michelle Edwards said will set a standard for service excellence.
“From this partnership emerges the path to self-determination and true stewardship of the Sekw’el’was territory,” Edwards said when the agreement was announce on Feb. 24.
“We believe that our partnership’s initiatives will set he bar for infrastructure managements and project delivery in Indigenous communities and we will continue to strive for quality, excellence and innovation.”
The partnership also includes Cayoose Creek Development Corp. (CCDC), the business arm of the band, along with its subsidiary Antares Project Services LLP.
KWL president Mark Blamey said the partnership is a natural evolution of the working relationships the companies have developed over years of working together.
“Our respective teams are built on a foundation of locally grown talent and it is this special knowledge and attachment to British Columbia’s communities that gives us a sense of ownership and pride in working with our local communities.”
A joint news release announcing the partnership listed some key initiatives of the agreement, including supporting development and integration of quality management programs, as well as the implementation of reconciliation principles and community engagement.
Maximizing employment and business opportunities for Indigenous people and companies was also identified as a priority, with the recognition that careers in the engineering and construction industries depend on a wide range of supporting endeavors all of which provide business and career opportunities.
KWL’s Vernon office manager, Mark Forsyth has been appointed to act as Cayoose municipal engineer to help manage the community’s water, sewer, roads, buildings and other facilities and systems both on and off reserve.
KWL is based in Burnaby with branch offices in Calgary as well as the Okanagan and Kootenays. The firm provides consulting engineering services in water, community and energy infrastructure.
CCDC owns and operates subsidiary business on the Sekw’el’was community’s behalf, including Lower-Mainland-based Antares, an industry leader in planning, developing and executing infrastructure projects for public and private sector clients.