Metlakatla signs LNG benefits agreements

Image courtesy of the Government of B.C.

Image courtesy of the Province of B.C.

Metlakatla First Nation has signed two pipeline benefits agreements with the provincial government that will provide direct benefits to the community as a result of B.C.’s developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

The agreements relate to TransCanada’s proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline and Spectra’s proposed Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline.

Natural gas pipeline benefits agreements with First Nations are part of the B.C. government’s comprehensive plan to partner with them on LNG opportunities, which also include increasing First Nations’ access 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. 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,” said Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman.

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. As part of the agreement related to the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission project, 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.

As a member of the Tsimshian Roundtable, an alliance of six Tsimshian First Nations in B.C.’s northwest, Metlakatla members will also benefit from funding for a new socio-economic agreement. The B.C. government has committed $9 million over three years through an agreement with the Tsimshian Roundtable to implement a new framework that focuses on skills training and the socio-economic well-being of Tsimshian members. This agreement builds on government’s skills training efforts in the region over the past year.

“It is important that we have a voice in developing industries in our 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,” said Harold Leighton, chief councillor, Metlakatla First Nation.

Members of the Metlakatla First Nation have received skills training and acquired employment through Pathways to Success, an employment-readiness program focused on job-specific industry training. Pathways to Success has been funded through B.C.’s Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund, BG Canada, LNG Canada and Pacific NorthWest LNG.

SOURCE: Province of British Columbia

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