Gitxsan sign pipeline agreement
Twelve hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan First Nation have signed an agreement with TransCanada over the company’s Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT) project.
Each hereditary chief represents a Wilp (house group) where the project will affect their area.
“This agreement is the product of our engagement with the Gitxsan hereditary leadership. This comprehensive agreement provides long-term economic benefits, jobs, contracting opportunities and information sharing throughout the life of the project,” said Tony Palmer, president of PRGT last week in a news release.
“The 12 hereditary chiefs bargained hard with PRGT to ensure that the environment is protected and that the agreement provides for long-term benefits to each of the affected Wilp and to the broader Gitxsan Nation,” said Chief Gordon Sebastian.
The territory is located north of Smithers in the Hazelton area, and the agreement is the 13th signed with B.C. First Nations for the project.
Social workers get a raise
The government is adding financial incentive for social workers in remote communities where it’s difficult to recruit staff — including Prince Rupert.
On Nov. 30 the ministry of children and family development announced a $3,000 to $6,000 increase to social worker’s yearly wages as an attempt to improve retention and recruitment. This pay hike is due to an agreement between the federal and provincial government as well as the Service Employees Union.
Senior ministry social workers will get a $6,000 payment and social workers with less than two years experience will get $3,000. Prince Rupert is among the communities listed as a hard-to-recruit area as well as Kitimat, Terrace and Haida Gwaii.
Air Miles retracts expiration policy
After hearing many complaints from collectors, Air Miles decided to cancel its expiry policy that would have occurred on Dec. 31.
The policy would have rendered all points earned before 2012 useless. After the Dec. 1 decision, Air Miles announced there would no longer be a deadline for points.
Northern Health bus schedule modified
Reduced demand for health care appointments has led to changes in the holiday schedule for the Northern Health Connections bus program for the end of 2016.
Beginning Dec. 20, Northern Health will run its last routes for the year with trips from Prince George to Vancouver and back.
For Prince Rupert, the final route scheduled from Prince George to Prince Rupert is Dec. 23, and the final route from Prince Rupert to Prince George is on Dec. 22.
Regular routes from Prince George to Rupert begin again on Jan. 2, and from Prince Rupert to Prince George on Jan. 4.
The Connections bus booking centre is closed on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.
Aurora LNG submits environmental application
Aurora LNG, the joint venture between Nexen and INPEX Gas for a proposed LNG export facility on Digby Island, has formally submitted its Environmental Assessment Certificate application to the BC Environmental Assessment Office.
The application is set to be taken in by the provincial and federal governments, then reviewed by the regulatory agencies in charge and First Nations. It will be made available to the public following those reviews with a public comment period set to begin around the same time.
“We are very pleased to have completed all the necessary studies and analysis as outlined in the Application Information Requirements,” said Andrew Hamilton, general manager of surface development for Aurora LNG in the company’s latest newsletter.
“The LNG industry has the potential to be game-changing for Canada and our project specifically has the potential to deliver lasting benefits to Aboriginal and local communities through the creation of employment, business opportunities and community investment. By filing our application we’re demonstrating our strong understanding of the potential impacts of our project and the plans we have developed to address those impacts.”
Among the Environmental Assessment Application studies completed are surveys on marine mammals, marine birds, marine fish, habitats, eelgrass, water quality sampling, marine sediment sampling, vegetation and wetlands, and wildlife and amphibian surveys.