Chief Bryce Williams, Tsawwassen First Nation

Chief Bryce Williams, Tsawwassen First Nation | BCBusiness

As chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation, does 24-year-old Bryce Williams possess the business acumen to maintain stable economic growth during times of change on his lands?

Why did you want to lead the Tsawwassen First Nation?
It came from growing up here all my life and always wanting to be involved with the community. I felt that I have a good presence in the community and I have strong morals and values and a good, strong sense of the community’s values and its wants and needs. I’ve also had a lot of family involved in leadership roles in the past in TFN government. My grandfather was a chief of Tsawwassen First Nation; my dad sat on council. I see it as a good opportunity to be a good, strong voice for the people.

What past experiences have helped most in your new position?
A lot of life experience—growing up in the community and also my past carving experience. There’s a lot of teachings that I carry on about respect. I also sat on executive council for three years; that definitely laid out the groundwork for me to be able to sit in my position, with the need to learn about roles and responsibilities.

What aspects of your platform do you think got you elected over former chief Kim Baird?
I think just my people-first mentality is a big part of getting elected—and being involved with the community quite often and having that want and need to strengthen the culture.

Where do you and Baird differ most on policy?
I’m not too sure. We agreed on quite a lot of the same things. There was nothing really against her; I just thought it was time for a change in that position and a lot of the community agreed.

Following the termination of TFN chief administrative officer Doug Raines in March this year, Baird was quoted saying that too much change is detrimental to the TFN’s stability as an organization. Do you think anything needs to be done to stabilize the TFN government?
No. We’ve got a strong staff team here and we’ve got a strong chief-in-council. We all have good, solid views on where we need to be and where we’re at, and there’s no “yes people” in there. We have a good, stable government and a stable staff that do a lot of extraordinary, hard work.

What are your short-term priorities?
Short-term priorities are just to always have that community presence and have my door open to my people to come and talk to me and voice their opinions and concerns on certain issues. And also just continue on building up our language and culture and strengthening that.

What plans do you have to follow through on the development agreements already in place for your land?
We’re going to see that our business and economic development plans move forward. It’s going to be crucial to the sustainability and growth of our community to have those in place.

Do you have specific long-term goals?
I just want us to build a stable economy and make sure that we think about the future generations ahead so that there’s always a good, stable government in place. I just want to go about the job responsibly and make sure that future generations are taken care of as well.

What’s the most important thing that needs to happen to build a stable economy?
It’s going to be economic development and developing our industrial lands and developing the commercial lands. It’s going to be good to see everything falling into place.

The municipality of Delta has said it will not let the TFN use its sewer infrastructure during these times of expansion on your lands. What is the plan if an agreement cannot be met?
It’s been an issue for a number of years between Delta and Tsawwassen, but we have our solutions in place and we’re going to be able to service our lands appropriately for development to move forward.

Do you have any specific solutions?

Are you able to share those?
I’m not too sure. Not at the moment, no.

Given the recent tension over the sewer agreement with Delta, how do you see this relationship developing in the future?
I think there has to be relationship building there and we just have to find a way to work together so that we can find ways for us to work together to benefit all of our communities.

What steps will you take to ensure good relations with Delta and other neighbouring municipalities?
Not too sure at the moment—something to work on and something to look into.

What’s the status on bringing a waste-to-energy facility to TFN lands?
There’s still the process of it [that] has to go through Metro Vancouver. They’re trying to find a site and we’ll just keep our options open. If there’s opportunity there for us to be involved in that process, we’re welcome to that.

What’s most rewarding in your role?
Hearing all of the positive things from the community. They see my community involvement and presence out there. It feels good to be widely accepted by a lot of the community and it’s great to make a difference for the future generations and future leaders.