The provincial government has stepped in and decided how millions of dollars will be divided up among First Nations who have territory through which natural gas pipelines could one day run.
The money, $10 million per year per each of three planned pipelines, would flow once natural gas starts running through to liquefied natural gas plants.
Originally, the Province set a deadline of March 2015 for the First Nations to reach a deal among themselves but, despite several extensions, they failed to reach consensus.
“We went through a very extensive process,” said provincial Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad.
The issue was, among other considerations, how to apportion money based on a First Nation’s population, the number of kilometres of pipeline that runs through its traditional territory, and the length that runs through shared territory.
“There were six or 10 options looked at,” said Rustad before the Province decided it had to impose the one specific formula it thought best to divide the annual payments.
In the end the formula now in place is based on the following:
– 30 per cent based on population of a First Nation;
– 30 per cent based on traditional territory through which a pipeline would run;
– 30 per cent based on traditional territory, recognizing shared territories; and
– 10 per cent based on equal share by dividing $10 million per year per pipeline by the number of First Nations along the pipeline’s route.
Up to 32 First Nations stand to benefit from the $10 million per year per pipeline.
With the Prince Rupert LNG project officially shelved, the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project through Gitxsan territory is also shelved.
The two pipelines remaining are TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink destined for the proposed Shell-backed LNG Canada plant in Kitimat, and TransCanada’s Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project pipeline that would pass north of Hazelton through Gitxsan territory on its way to the Petronas-backed Pacific NorthWest LNG plant near Prince Rupert.
Each of the pipelines would originate in northeastern B.C.
Another pipeline, Pacific Trails Pipeline by Chevron, is meant for the Kitimat LNG plant. A separate impact benefits agreement was signed by the Province with First Nations tied to pipeline construction and completion.
Pipeline companies have also signed deals of their own with First Nations to provide cash, business opportunities and ongoing benefits.
– With files from Terrace Standard.