THE GITXSAN chiefs would be wrong to completely reject the deal signed by their chief negotiator with Enbridge to provide their members with an equity stake in the Northern Gateway pipeline project.
For as much as the chiefs decided they could not politically be seen to align themselves with the $5.5 billion project, there were other elements of the deal that deserve a thorough airing.
One of those elements was the commitment by Enbridge to explore renewable energy projects within Gitxsan traditional territory.
That falls completely in line with Enbridge’s other businesses. While painted solely as a pipeline builder in B.C., the company is a major natural gas supplier in Ontario and has eyes on “green” sources of power.
One of the potential Gitxsan projects is a run-of-river development at a place called Cascadero Falls nearby the now-closed Kemess North copper mine. Broadly speaking, after a period of time, the Gitxsan would own the project, selling power to BC Hydro and earning an income in return.
The cornerstone of any economy is having something someone else wants. That’s always been the challenge in this part of the world.
But now if there is the opportunity to more fully explore hydro-electric power then the Gitxsan chiefs should follow through. The Gitxsan, as with anyone else, will only move forward by creating wealth.