Three Northern B.C. First Nations have signed on to long-term project agreements with TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project.
The Burns Lake Indian Band, Blueberry River First Nations, and Lheidli T’enneh First Nation have agreed to commitments and financial benefits that will be provided, as long as the project is in service.
Chief Dan George of Burns Lake Indian Band says it is important for the Band to find ways to balance the economic opportunity, with environmental protection.
“The project agreement reflects that we can collaborate with companies like Coastal GasLink, and participate in the many benefits of the project,” he added.
Chief Dominic Frederick of Lheidli T’enneh First Nation says they welcome the opportunity to become an active partner of Coastal GasLink, and they look toward to participating in the skills development and environmental stewardship opportunities the agreement bears.
“We believe the pipeline project will benefit our members today and for future generations, both financially and in terms of employment for our members,” said Chief Marvin Yahey of Blueberry River First Nation.
Rick Gateman, President of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project says these agreements are ‘a reflection of the meaningful way Aboriginal groups are choosing to participate in the long-term development of B.C.’s natural gas industry.’
“Their important contributions to our project allow us to incorporate their local knowledge into our planning and pipeline design, which is a priority for us. Their participation in these agreements makes Coastal GasLink a better project, and enables them to participate in the significant benefits coming from the project.”
The $4.8 billion plus project proposal sees construction and operation of a 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline from the Groundbirch area near Dawson Creek, to the proposed LNG export facility near Kitimat. Over $41 million has been spent in Northern B.C., plus over $1.9 million in community investments along the route, by this project.
TransCanada calls this project a ‘key component’ to their capital growth plan, which includes more than $13 billion in proposed projects they say will support the emerging LNG industry on B.C.’s coastline.
According to TransCanada, the project would create over 2,000 jobs during construction, and over $20 million in annual property tax payments.