The Province of B.C. and Gitga'at First Nation reached an LNG benefit agreement late March

Gitga’at won’t oppose Pacific NorthWest LNG, sign deal with province

An LNG benefits agreement has been inked between the Province of B.C. and Gitga'at First Nation of Hartley Bay.

An LNG benefits agreement has been inked between the province and Gitga’at First Nation of Hartley Bay.

The Band Council’s chief councillor Arnold Clifton signed the agreement on March 29, a day before aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister John Rustad publicly announced a similar agreement with the Kitselas First Nation.

The 51-page benefits agreement obtained by the Northern View, confirms that the Gitga’at will engage with the province in the development of the liquefied natural gas industry.

The Gitga’at will receive $1.5 million in base funding. Payments to the community will continue if an LNG project announces a final investment decision (FID) by March 31, 2019 there will be a one-time payment of $250,000 and three annual payments of $500,000. If an LNG facility is constructed, the province has also agreed to give the Gitga’at in-service payments based on volume. Parcels of land will also be transferred to the Gitga’at First Nation.

In addition, the province will support a Marine Emergency Response and Research Facility near Hartley Bay to monitor potential environmental effects associated with LNG vessels and to provide an economic opportunity to members.

For Gitga’at members living in Prince Rupert, the government agreed to give the nation $500,000 to set up a permanent space in the city for meetings and training if an LNG project comes to light.

The agreement comes after the Gitga’at launched a legal challenged against Pacific NorthWest LNG in July 2015 to review the lack of consultation done by Petronas, the Malaysian state-controlled company leading the project.

Within the LNG impact benefits agreement, Pacific NorthWest LNG is included in the list of projects the Gitga’at will not oppose.

LNG benefits agreements have now been signed by Metlakatla, Lax Kw’alaams, Kitselas and the the Gitga’at.

“The province is working with Kitsumkalum and Gitxaala First Nations on agreements related to potential LNG facilities near Prince Rupert,” said Edward Hill, a spokesperson for the province.