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In this op-ed published in The Province, CFN President Marilyn Slett writes that COVID-19 has highlighted the obstacles to economic growth facing remote coastal communities, including: access to high-speed broadband internet service, improved transportation, increased opportunities in fishing, forestry and tourism.
As B.C. moves closer to restarting our economy post COVID-19 lockdown, it is imperative that in rethinking the “new normal” First Nations coastal communities not be left behind.
As coastal First Nations, we are facing a challenging summer. Our small eco-tourism businesses have been hard hit by the closures needed to protect our people from the deadly virus. Our fish harvesting, processing, and shellfish plant operations, which provide jobs for many, have been derailed by restaurant market closures worldwide.
We face the loss of revenue from recreational boaters and fishers who spend tourism dollars in our communities — as First Nations are forced to restrict travel to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak that could devastate our languages, cultures and people.