Province and First Nations sign deal

Skin Tyee and Nee Tahi Buhn First Nations will receive $5.3 million out of the agreement.

The Skin Tyee First Nation and Nee Tahi Buhn Band, located on the Southside, signed agreements with the province for the proposed Coastal GasLink Pipeline project.

According to a press release, pipeline benefit agreements with First Nations are part of the B.C. government’s comprehensive approach to partnering with First Nations on LNG opportunities, which also includes developing skills training and environmental stewardship projects with First Nations.

The Skin Tyee First Nation will receive approximately $2.8 million from the province at various stages in the project:  $466,000 upon signing the agreement, $1.15 million when pipeline construction begins, and $1.15 million when the pipeline is in service.

The Nee Tahi Buhn Indian Band will receive approximately $2.5 million:  $420,000 upon signing the agreement, $1.05 million when construction begins, and $1.05 million when the pipeline is operating.

The terms of the agreement and initial benefit payment will come into effect once the First Nations have signed impact benefit agreements with Coastal GasLink.

Skin Tyee First Nation and Nee Tahi Buhn Band will also receive a yet-to-be-determined share of $10 million a year in ongoing benefits per pipeline. The ongoing benefits will be available to First Nations along the natural gas pipeline routes. The B.C. government anticipates signing similar agreements with other nations in the near future.

Provincial benefit-sharing offers First Nations additional tools to partner in economic development, complements industry impact benefit agreements that provide jobs and business opportunities, and is a way for government and First Nations to partner and provide industry with the certainty needed to make investment decisions.

“First and foremost, as leaders, we need to decide what is in the best interest of our communities,” said Rene Skin, Chief of Skin Tyee First Nation. “We believe that the LNG industry is one of the paths to prosperity for our members and all British Columbians through good-paying jobs, economic growth and collaboration on long-term environmental stewardship.”

“Being directly involved in expanding LNG in British Columbia presents our community with an opportunity to benefit from this new industry,” said Raymond Morris, Chief of Nee Tahi Buhn Band. “The land that we have depended on for generations will continue to provide for our members and contribute to the LNG industry and the provincial economy.”