The route of the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline which will bring natural gas to Kitimat. Image supplied

All 20 First Nations sign Coastal GasLink pipeline agreement

The proposed 670 km pipeline would deliver natural gas to Kitimat’s LNG Canada facility

TransCanada has announced that all 20 First Nations groups along the length of the Coastal GasLink pipeline have now signed a project agreement.

The announcement clears the way for the construction of the proposed 670 km pipeline which would deliver natural gas from Dawson Creek to the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat for export.

“Support for the agreements comes from the elected leaders of the 20 Indigenous bands as well as from several traditional and hereditary leaders within these communities,” said Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman.

“The contracting and employment opportunities along with the long-term benefit programs set forth in the agreements were designed specifically for each community along the route, providing Indigenous groups with job opportunities and sustainable sources of revenue over the life of the project.”

Gateman didn’t say who the last First Nation was to sign. However, the Northern Sentinel reported in July that the Haisla Nation Council (HNC) was the only one of the 20 First Nations that had not yet signed an agreement.

The Haisla Nation Council has not signed an LNG pipeline project agreement

At the time the HNC didn’t give a reason why it hadn’t yet signed an agreement – HNC spokesperson Cameron Orr said in July that the council remained “fully committed to the support and success of liquefied natural gas development in Haisla territory.”

Responding to TransCanada’s announcement today, HNC chief councillor Crystal Smith said the council is “happy to celebrate Coastal GasLink’s major milestone.”

“First Nations in Northern B.C. have a real opportunity to work together to build benefits for each of our communities, which respects Aboriginal rights and title, separate from the political realm,” said Smith. “This announcement from Coastal GasLink is an example of that opportunity.”

She said the HNC was looking forward “to continuing to work together with Coastal GasLink as they develop their project.”

Gateman also didn’t mention the ongoing struggle with a breakaway group of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who established a gated camp on the route that the proposed pipeline will follow.

TransCanada is investigating an alternate route which starts about 21 km southwest of Burns Lake and ends 25 km south of Houston, which will be approximately 41 km long and runs about 3.5 km south of the approved route.

”The project continues to hold discussions with some hereditary governance groups and is optimistic that additional agreements may be reached in the near future, should the project receive a positive final investment decision from LNG Canada,” said Gateman.

First Nations LNG Alliance CEO Karen Ogen-Toews, a former elected chief councillor of the Wet’suwet’en, said the pipeline “means opportunities for long-lasting careers, not just short-term jobs.”

“For the communities and councils, it means a stable and long-term source of revenues that will help them work on closing the social-economic gap that keeps Indigenous people so far behind others in Canada,” said Ogen-Toews. “We are seeing real opportunity here, and real support for the 20 Nations.”

In July Alliance spokesperson Donald MacLachlan declined to answer a number of questions sent by the Sentinel about the HNC not having signed an agreement.

“Each First Nation makes its own decisions on resource issues, and rightly so,” said MacLachlan.

In addition to finalizing the agreements, the Coastal GasLink project has also awarded approximately $620 million in conditional contracting and employment opportunities to northern Indigenous businesses.

The project anticipates another $400 million in contracting opportunities for local and Indigenous businesses during the construction period, bringing the total to approximately $1 billion for B.C.

A final pipeline construction cost has yet to be determined.

Contact the newsroom

Message us on Facebook

Just Posted

Young Hearts Triathlon

Annual event saw racers of all ages swim, bike, and run their way to a cheering finish line on Saturday, July 13th

Museum presents old time film festival

Series of six films Saturday, July 20th through Sunday, July 21st at museum

Peddling the practice of bikepacking

Growing sport of backcountry biking in the Valley

Balancing aesthetics and affordability in Canal Flats

Canal Flats Council briefs of July 8th

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Most Read