THE LAST of eight First Nations agreements tied to the construction of BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmision Line has been signed.
The impact benefit agreement between the provincial crown corporation and the Kitsumkalum provides training, jobs, business contracts and other economic opportunities.
At the same time, Kitsumkalum has also signed a contract with BC Hydro for right-of-way clearing and access road construction work from kilometer eight to 62 of the transmission line right of way that runs through Kitsumkalum traditional territory.
The 287-kilovolt transmission line will be 344 kilometres long, running from BC Hydro’s Skeena Substation south of Terrace to Bob Quinn Lake.
It is expected to be finished in the first half of 2014, providing power to mines and other projects in the region and providing a way to transmit power to the provincial grid from hydro-electric projects in the area.
Clearing by the Kitselas First Nation is also underway on the line route leading north from the Skeena Substation toward the Skeena River and by the Tahltan at the Bob Quinn end of the line.
The line is estimated to create up to 840 direct jobs during the three years of construction.
“Kitsumkalum Band Council and negotiators feel that while negotiations leading up to this agreement were long and challenging, the results and projected benefits to Kitsumkalum and the area will be long-lasting and important to the community in many related aspects for further community development.,” said Kitsumkalum chief Don Roberts.
Foundation and structure installation work is expected to begin in late spring/early summer 2012.
Impact benefits agreements are already in place with the Nisga’a Nation and with the eight First Nations whose traditional territory is crossed by the project: Kitsumkalum First Nation, three Gitxsan Houses, Gitanyow Nation, Skii km Lax Ha, Kitselas First Nation, Metlakatla First Nation, Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band and Tahltan Nation.