UPDATE: Metlakatla, Lax Kw'alaams reach LNG revenue sharing deal with provincial government
The Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams First Nations have reached an LNG revenue sharing agreement with the provincial government.
The deal, announced today by Premier Christy Clark, provide the two First nations with a portion of provincial government revenues from the sole proponent agreements reached fo projects at Grassy Point proposed by Aurora LNG and Woodside LNG. In signing the agreements, both the Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams "signal their support for co-operating in respect of prospective LNG development at Grassy Point", reads a media advisory from the province. The agreement also addresses Crown consultation and accommodation.
In making the announcement, Premier Clark said this agreement is a "major milestone" in developing B.C.'s LNG industry.
"This kind of cooperation and stability ... is going to play a crucial role in ensuring investors have the confidence they need to make sure their final investment moves forward," she said, noting working together with First Nations is the only way the province will grow.
"[LNG] is an opportunity for every British Columbian, but more importantly it is an opportunity for First Nations to become full partners in the economic development of the province and the country like never before ... agreements like this plant the seeds of prosperity for generations to come."
While noting that protecting the environment was key to the band, both Metlakatla Chief Harold Leighton and Lax Kw'alaams Mayor Garry Reece said this agreement was extremely important to their people.
"We have come to a time when the status quo is no longer acceptable. This is an opportunity to build an economy and improve the social situation in Metlakatla and on the North Coast ... when you look at the benefits LNG can bring to the province and to the country, we want to be part of that," said Leighton.
"We look at this as a huge opportunity for my people and it is going to change a lot for my people ... it means a lot," added Mayor Reece.
Noting he hoped other First Nations would join in revenue sharing agreements, Leighton noted this agreement could be used as a blueprint in the province.
"Revenue sharing agreement, like the one at Grassy Point, are a good example of how First Nations communities can get early benefits from projects ... it is a good example of what can happen when you approach LNG in the spirit of partnership," he said.