Metlakatla First Nation signs two pipeline benefits agreements with B.C.

Photo by Metlakatla First Nation, Communications DepartmentPhoto by Metlakatla First Nation, Communications Department

VICTORIA, B.C. — The Metlakatla First Nation has signed two pipeline benefits agreements with the Province, related to TransCanada’s proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline and Spectra’s proposed Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline.

Metlakatla First Nation has received an initial payment of $430,000 related to the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line, and would receive two separate payments of just over $1 million as construction starts and when the natural gas line goes into service.

Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad congratulated the Metlakatla First Nation on the reaching of an agreement.

“They are so often at the forefront of new projects and I applaud their vision and their drive to bring new opportunities to their community,” he said.

Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor, Metlakatla First Nation agreed, stating that its important that members have a voice in developing industries in their territory.

“This kind of benefits agreements gives us that voice and offers us the opportunity to move forward in partnership with government and with business in a way that benefits everyone.”

As part of the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission project agreement, the First Nation has received an initial payment of $390,000, and would receive $975,000 as construction starts and an equal amount as the line goes into service.

First Nations, along each natural gas pipeline route, will also share $10 million a year in ongoing benefits.

Metlakatla members will also benefit from funding for a new socio-economic agreement as a member of the Tsimshian Roundtable, says the Province. The Roundtable is made up of representatives of the Tsimshian Alliance and six LNG project proponents — Aurora LNG, BG Canada, LNG Canada, Pacific Northwest LNG, WCC LNG and Woodside LNG. The six Tsimshian First Nations are the Metlakatla, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Lax Kw’alaams, Gitxaala and Gitga’at.

The Province says natural gas pipeline benefits agreements with First Nations are part of their plan to partner with them on LNG opportunities, also involving increased access for First Nations to skills training and environmental stewardship projects.

“Pursuing partnerships with First Nations as a means of creating jobs and providing a future for communities is the way to success in British Columbia,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development.

“Benefits agreements are a good way for our LNG industry to develop in a manner that supports First Nations, our partners and all British Columbians.”

The Metlakatla First Nation is located on the Tsimshian Peninsula five kilometres west of Prince Rupert and has approximately 865 members. The First Nation is one of 29 who have established pipeline benefits agreements with the Province.