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Province and BC Hydro sign agreement with Tsay Keh Dene Band

The Province and BC Hydro have initialled a final agreement with the Tsay Keh Dene Band that, once ratified, will address the longstanding grievances from the creation and operation of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Williston Reservoir in the Peace River Valley.

Once ratified, the proposed Final Agreement will provide full settlement for litigation against the Province and BC Hydro related to damages created from W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Williston Reservoir more than four decades ago.

The creation of the reservoir led to severe flooding in the Peace River Valley area and forced the Tsay Keh Dene to move to another location within their traditional territory. The agreement will provide a one-time payment of $26.5 million and settlements payments of $2 million annually, recognizing the permanent impacts of the reservoir on the Tsay Keh Dene’s community.

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The Province, BC Hydro and Tsay Keh Dene have been negotiating a final agreement since December 2006, when an Agreement in Principle was signed. A ratification vote is tentatively scheduled by Tsay Keh Dene in late June, 2009.

Subject to a positive vote outcome, the Final Agreement will be signed by all parties in July. The Final Agreement with Tsay Keh Dene follows the completion of a Final Agreement between the Province, BC Hydro and Kwadacha First Nation, which was signed on Nov. 27, 2008.