FEBRUARY 5, 2016: The Songhees Nation is the first Aboriginal community to join the YYJ Prosperity Association (YYJ Prosperity), the new economic development organization that is uniting the region behind a new model of collaboration to strengthen and diversify local economies for the benefit of everyone. The Songhees Nation, now a founding member, will work as equal partners with a group of twenty four determined leaders from business, municipal governments and post-secondary institutions from across the region to identify opportunities, and pursue federal and provincial funding and international investment in key economic sectors for projects that reflect local values and deliver family sustaining jobs. YYJ Prosperity’s focus is on collaboration combining resources, energy and talents for the greater good of all.
For Ron Sam, the progressive Chief of the Songhees Nation, the decision to sign on as an equal partner signifies a new way for his community to participate in the development of local economies that reflect the values of his community. It also creates a space for the exchange of knowledge capital and cultural understanding. “This opportunity presents a level playing field for us to engage in creating new opportunities for economic development while strengthening the awareness of our culture and our abilities,” said Chief Sam. “There are some people here today – our new partners – who have not visited us before. The Wellness Centre is place for connection, wellbeing and commerce. Economic health plays an important role in determining quality of life. We welcome the opportunity to work with our partners in creating new understandings and sustainable economies for our families – for all families.”
SVIEDA founding members met to sign the society’s constitution and bylaws which now allows the organization to be officially ratified. They also met to select the first YYJ Prosperity directors for the society’s industry-led governance board. Dozens of citizens from across the region came forward to volunteer their time and expertise to help guide the YYJ Prosperity initiative. Members of the new Board of Directors will be announced next week and one of their first tasks will be candidate interviews for the organizations Executive Director.