Celine Trojand

Organize BC
I think that BC could become a world leader in building just and resilient local economies. In the next ten years it's not unrealistic to dream that BC communities could show the rest of Canada what meaningful reconciliation looks like.

Tell us about your work in your community

Community Economic Development Coordinator for Witset First Nation: small and medium size business development, strengthen existing businesses ie: Kyahwood Forest Products Ltd (58 staff), Kyah Food and Fuel (15 staff), Witset RV Park and Museum (6 seasonal staff), advise on community economic development and strategic planning matters, develop budgets and business plans.

Tell us a story about a time you brought people together to improve your community.

Phase 1 &2 Land Use Plan/Comprehensive Community Plan and Community Economic Development Plan - in order to achieve sustainable community economic development it is important to have a strategic plan in place that includes the land use and is developed in consultation with the community. I applied for and received funding of $150K to develop the Comprehensive Community Strategic Plan, Land Use Plan and Community Economic Development Strategy see projects under the CED tab of www.moricetown.ca and note that we held several community gatherings to date and more to come.

What problems are you trying to solve?

One of the biggest challenges facing Witset First Nation is the two-tiered level of government ie: Band and Hereditary Chief system which involves consultation and agreement on development within the Band boundaries and the Crown versus traditional land ownership. Combine that with the fact that the land lies in an archeologically rich zone, land development is challenging.

What do you need to learn how to do in order to solve those problems?

Consensus building within the First Nation governance structure is a big plus. Enhanced cultural knowledge so as to build relationships is helpful. Witset would benefit from being a land code nation and that process would be helpful to know in order to help the community prosper economically.

What are the most powerful questions you need to ask right now?

My community wants to be self-reliant. They want to have their own power generation, food supply, and trained communities members to build their own houses and develop their own businesses rather than rely on outside consulting. How can we diversify the Kyahwood Forest Product mill operations so as to withstand the imposed tariffs and duties and keep 58 people employed.

If we all worked together, what do you imagine that we could achieve in the next five to ten years?

In the next 5-10 years if we worked together, we would achieve stronger, healthier communities where every person regardless of race, sex, ability or religion is welcomed and participating in the community to move it forward to self-reliance. We would get away from polluting our water with plastics, rely on alternative green sources of energy, develop local food supplies that are healthier with higher vitamin content, and a stronger, smarter workforce that is not burdened with incredibly high student debt. I believe we have the financial ability to send all our children to post-secondary and that would strengthen our communities and ultimately our nation.