By Rod Link
The deal between two Tsimshian bands providing them with money, land and business opportunities in return for certainty surrounding Phase II of the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s container port project sets the stage for progress, says North Coast NDP MLA Gary Coons.
“It’s a historic agreement and is a long time coming,” said Coons of the March 14 agreement between Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla.
“It’s going to provide quite a few business opportunities,” he said.
The deal comes with a broad list of agreements, including more than $20 million in sole source contracting and releases relating to Tsimshian accommodation obligations.
“It took a long time to get a deal that’s fair and reasonable. It’s going to go a long way to acknowledge First Nations rights,” said Coons.
“Hopefully this is a sign of the times of where we’re headed.”
Coons did add he was disappointed that while federal transport minister Chuck Strahl was in attendance, there was no representative from the provincial government.
Local MP Nathan Cullen also spoke to the importance of the deal.
“We’ve been saying and supporting this for years and we’re seeing more of it on the ground. This model of respect and co-operation delivers real results and leads to real investments.”
Agreements tied to the port were also announced for the Kitsumkalum and Kitselas in Terrace.