Lax Kwa’laams Band votes to continue negotiating with LNG project developers

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PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. – One of the First Nations on BC’s North Coast has voted in favour of continuing to negotiate with LNG project developers, including Pacific Northwest LNG.

The Lax Kw’alaams Band held a vote on Tuesday and Wednesday over whether the band council could continue to negotiate with Pacific Northwest LNG, of which Petronas is the main backer. The first nation’s members primarily live in the village of Lax’Kwalaams, formerly known as Port Simpson, as well as in Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Terrace. The band’s traditional territory includes the site of Pacific Northwest’s proposed LNG export terminal on Lelu Island.

According to Mayor John Helin, 812 total ballots were received in the vote, with 532 ‘yes’ votes, 279 ‘no’ votes, and one spoiled ballot. Helin says that this was a good result, after offering the band council’s tentative support for the project back in March. According to an article in the Globe and Mail, Helin sent a letter to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to inform her that the band council would support the project provided an environmental performance committee would be formed.

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After he was elected mayor in November 2015, Helin says that the band hired three independent experts to consult with the first nation in a series of community forums in the village of Lax Kw’alaams, Prince Rupert, Kitimat, and Vancouver. Those forums were held over the summer in recent weeks.

With files from The Globe and Mail:

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