The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation has entered a new Pipeline Benefits Agreement with the provincial government.
The agreement is tied to the proposed Transcanada Coastal Gaslink Pipeline, which would stretch from Dawson Creek to Kitimat.
‘We’ve been very successful in working with First Nations, we’ve signed 62 Pipeline Benefits Agreements so far,” says Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad. “Every LNG agreement we reach with First Nations shows our commitment
to work in partnership with communities to ensure they are involved in pipeline development in a way that creates employment opportunities close to home and supports families and communities becoming stronger and more successful.”
As per the agreement, The Lheidli T’enneh will receive nearly $250,000 as an initial payment, and $1.24 million when construction starts.
“This is a critical step both for the industry and for us as a province,” noted Rustad. “What this provides is a gateway into some economic development and being able to invest within their communities. It’s also connected to training.”
The Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association received nearly $400,000 in funding for LNG-related training in late November.
At that announcement, Minister of jobs Shirley Bond noted that Aboriginal youth are BC’s fastest growing demographic, and will be needed to counteract the growing number of people leaving the workforce, while Mcleod Lake Indian Band Chief Derek Orr said having Aboriginals involved in industry promotes a strong partnership and respect for the land, and pointed to the Thompson Creek Mine as a prime example.
“One of the benefits of that construction project is that we had two of our members who were environmental technicians involved right from the get-go. We placed our people in there to make sure the environmental side of things is taken care off.”
Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dominic Frederick also has high hopes for the future of such projects.
“Strong economic development is essential to keep our community thriving. This pipeline benefits agreement with the Province gives the people of Lheidli T’enneh the ability to be a full partner in the opportunities LNG offers. It will provide jobs for our young people and a secure future for their families.”
Lheidli T’enneh previously signed a PBA related to the Pacific Trail Pipeline through its membership in the First Nations Limited Partnership.
The Partnership consists of 16 First Nations who will share benefits once construction has started.