New First Nation agreement reached

Wet’suwet’en First Nation announces resolution Huckleberry Mines.

Wet’suwet’en First Nation (WFN) and Huckleberry Mines Ltd. have reached an amicable conclusion to at times adversarial negotiations which included threats of road blockades and the issuance of a ‘stop work order’ made by WFN to Huckleberry Mines.

The July 24 community investment agreement was described as a ‘win/win’ resolution of difficulties that successfully resolves disputes, including power line right-of-ways and road use.

The mine is located southwest of the WFN reserve near Burns Lake. Road access to the mine and a power line right-of-way also cross through the Felix George Indian Reserve #7.

Five members of the Wet’suwet’en are now employed at the mine, and a WFN economic development arm – the Yinka Dene Economic Development Limited Partnership (YLP) – has since won a competitive bid for a contract at the mine.

A previous agreement reached between Huckleberry Mines and the WFN was considered to no longer reflect an equitable arrangement of prosperity-sharing since the $455 million expansion of Huckleberry Mines was announced in January, 2012.

At the time of the 2012 announcement of the mine expansion, stable employment for the mines 230 employees was lauded as well as the potential for 70 new jobs.

This proved to be a contentious issue for WFN, who at the start of 2013, still had no band members employed at the mine. A large part of WFN discontent was with the lack of employment benefits to the band within whose traditional territories the mine operated.

Karen Ogen, recently re-elected WFN chief, made it clear in previous comments to Lakes District News that her long-running dispute with Huckleberry was over jobs and financial compensation for access and right-of-way issues.

As of last year, WFN received $6000 annually in compensation for access through their traditional territories and reserve as part of a 1997 agreement. The financial details of the new agreement are being kept confidential, but it will be in effect until 2021.

“Today is a good day for the WFN community,” said Ogen. “To its credit, Huckleberry stayed at the negotiating table and we were able to negotiate a fair and reasonable resolution that is already benefiting our community.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Dupras family has been regulars at the Babine River and have seen plentiful grizzlies over the years. (Jay Dupras photo/Lakes District News)
A family’s close encounter with a grizzly on Babine River bridge

Photo-enthusiasts let the bear access the bridge for photos putting others at risk

Vehicles waiting for the highway to reopen. (Shashank Bangera photo/Lakes District News)
Vehicle incident claims life on Highway 16 east of Burns Lake

The accident resulted in highway closure

The victim of a homicide in Houston is Pietro Adamo. (Photo courtesy the RCMP)
Man dies from injuries following assault

Investigators looking for information on this homicide

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan arrives at Luxton Hall to cast their votes in advance polls for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Pandemic election prompts voter suppression claims by B.C. Liberals

‘These emergencies require in us a maturity that has been lacking in politics for so long’

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Most Read