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T’Sou-ke Chief honoured for green approach

Gordon Planes view of the future key a driving force to business on the reserve
Chief Gordon Planes has received the Individual Achievement Award by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation. The solar project undertaken by the First Nation is one of the initiatives that garnered the award for Planes, seen here in front of part of the solar-electric grid on the T’Sou-ke lands. (file photo)

T’Sou-ke chief Gordon Planes has been awarded the Individual Achievement Award by the B.C. Achievement Foundation. The award presentation took place at the B.C. Indigenous Business Awards gala in Vancouver on Oct. 15 where the organization recognized Planes’ work in sustainable and renewable energy and the vision he has shown in guiding his community into a more sustainable future.

The chief was chosen to receive the award by the foundation’s board which recognized the chief’s efforts towards economic development and business in the province.

Planes has been the chief of the T’Sou-ke First Nation since 2007 and has embarked on a 100-year process to build a new community vision that focuses on autonomy, food security, cultural renaissance and economic development.

Under his leadership, the First Nation has emerged as a leader in renewable and green energy and, in the last few years, the T’Sou-ke have launched a solar micro-grid demonstration project. The community has generated electricity through the project for more than a decade and has attracted international attention for the initiative.

They are now listed as the most solar-intensive community in Canada.

READ MORE: Study on energy project

The First Nation also operates wasabi and oyster farms with a view to long-term sustainability as opposed to quick personal profit.

The aquaculture business produces millions of oysters per harvest, commercial wasabi greenhouses, a thriving community garden and more.

READ MORE: Wasabi to new heights

“It’s all about future generations,” said Planes.

“It’s all about good governance at home, and it’s all about our babies, our little ones,” he added.

Planes has called upon the provincial and federal governments to “walk their talk” with Indigenous communities and to support their efforts in sustainability, language revitalization and formal reclamation of land.

“The B.C. Indigenous Business Awards’ program has elevated over 170 outstanding businesses from throughout the province for the past 10 years,” said Scott McIntyre, foundation chair. “As we mark this important decade of excellence and look to the future, the 2018 cohort of awardees lead the way as examples of entrepreneurship, commitment and extraordinary vision.”

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