The Lheidli T’enneh has joined the ranks of 8 other First Nations on the proposed Coastal GasLink Pipeline route, entering into a Benefits Agreement with TransCanada.
The First Nation will receive an initial payment of $248 000 , followed by 1.24 million when construction begins, and an additional 1.24 million when the pipeline is in service.
Lehidli T’enneh Chief Domonic Frederick issued a statement following the announcement saying,
“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.”
The 670 kilometer natural gas pipeline will run from Dawson Creek to Kitimat. TransCanada hopes to start construction on the proposed pipeline in 2016.
TransCanada’s Greg Cano saying,
“We’re very happy to have been able to reach this agreement with them that allows them to continue to participate in both the economic as well as the environmental stewardship of the pipeline. Moving forward into construction and even following into operations.”
An Environmental Certificate for the pipeline was issued by the BC Environmental Assessment Office in the fall of 2014.
The Lheidli T’enneh is now on board, however Cano says some first nations still oppose the project.
“We’ve signed 9 folsom benefits agreements along the route out of approximately 21 that we’re attempting to our goal is to get along the route. We have memorandums of understanding for 20 of the 21 groups along the pipeline route.”
Environmental concerns topping list for opposition to the project.
MLA Shirley Bond says it’s important First Nations play an integral role in the the province’s LNG industry.
“We’ve signed a number of these types of benefits agreements right across the province. We are working very constructively with First Nations. The Lheidli is progressive. They’re looking at how they can be supportive of their first nation and participate in the economy so I think it’s a very important first step.”
The Lheidli T’enneh will also receive a share of ten-million per year in ongoing benefits.