ʔaq’am First Nation
Land Use Plan and Community Engagement
Client: ?aq’am First Nation, BC
Location: near Cranbrook, BC (Ktunaxa Nation)
Bluerock’s Role: Jonathan Schmidt acted as senior planner while at McElhanney Consulting
Indigenous Engagement & Planning
Jonathan Schmidt and a team of Indigenous planners and engineers from McElhanney Consulting worked closely with the ?aq’am First Nation membership, staff and Chief and Council to create a land use plan based on local values and knowledge of the land. Following extensive community engagement, the plan strategically divides the approximately 20,000-acre land base into six distinct planning areas. The land use plan allocates land for a diversity of land use activities including traditional activities, eco-tourism, natural resource management, housing and commercial enterprise.
The community engagement program included home visits conducted by local youth, interactive youth workshops, community and steering committee meetings, and open houses. The ?aq’am Land Use Plan was successfully adopted in 2016 following a community vote with over 85% member endorsement.
The Land Use Plan divides the land base into unique character areas to ensure there’s a logical pattern of land uses. Each character area is further separated into land use areas that align with local values and understanding of how the land should be used. Land use categories were not imposed, but rather created through an extensive engagement process. They reflect the unique way that the Ktunaxa people of ?aq’am First Nation use the land.