The Halalt First Nation has given notice that it will be charging a toll ‘effective immediately’ on commercial vehicles that pass through its reserve on Highway 1A, a frequently used route for traffic heading to Crofton and the Catalyst pulp & paper mill from the Trans Canada Highway and back.
A letter dated April 5 from Chief James Thomas said a bylaw to regulate traffic through the reserve was passed March 7 as a “proactive measure to ensure community safety and Halalt members’ enjoyment of our village.”
Thomas could not be reached by press time and a call to Catalyst was not returned. The Municipality of North Cowichan was scheduled to discuss the toll at its May 4 meeting.
Logging trucks and wood chip carriers frequently use the route, which runs right by the Halalt village.
The bylaw says a permit fee could be either $150 ‘per commercial transportation vehicle’ or a rate ‘agreed upon application to the Chief and Council, payable on a monthly basis.’
“Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this bylaw is guilty of an offense and shall not be permitted to use any roads within the Halalt First Nations reserves,” the bylaw states.
The notifying letter says “Halalt wishes to extend notice of these proactive measures in the spirit of reconciliation toward the resolution of a long standing trespass that has gone unaddressed by the Ministry of Transportation.”
“Residential traffic is welcomed on the condition that visitors respect our village and be courteous to our community members,” the letter states.