Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Garry Reece says he wants to make one thing clear: The recent revenue sharing agreement between the Coast Tsimshian and the Province of British Columbia is not an endorsement of the LNG industry.
“People are looking at it as though we have signed an agreement with LNG companies. We have not signed any agreement with any LNG projects being proposed. We have signed an agreement with the province, and the province is not going to be building an LNG terminal … LNG companies have paid the province to go to Grassy Point and see if it is feasible to build there. What we did is go after the government to get our share of that,” he said, noting there are still no projects that have been given the stamp of approval by the band.
“I have made it clear that we have to look at the environment, our sea resources and the safety of our people. We have our own teams looking at that and making sure these projects will not harm those … there is no money in the world that will get us to agree to a project that puts those at risk.”
According to Reece, the government offered the Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla bands $15 million from the money paid by Woodside LNG and Aurora LNG for exclusivity rights to the north and south ends of Grassy Point. In terms of sharing information with the people of Lax Kw’alaams, Reece said the agreement was also brought up during a community meeting held in Prince Rupert earlier this year.
While not endorsing the industry or any of the projects, Reece acknowledged that the benefits would be significant if one or more projects could be built in such a way to meet the environmental and resource needs of the band.
“The impact-benefits agreements we are discussing are huge and would make a big difference for Lax Kw’alaams,” he said, noting the idea of a road to the community is a consideration.
“That is a huge possibility.”