MEMBERS OF the Tahltan Nation voted in favour of the McLymont Creek and Volcano Creek run-of-river hydroelectric project agreements the Nation reached with AltaGas in a decision that will shape the future of the Nation and its people.
More than 1,900 Tahltans registered to vote and more than 560 of eligible voters of Tahltan ancestry 16-years-old and older turned out to vote, for a 29 per cent participation rate.
The Tahltan membership voted 71 per cent in favour of the McLymont Creek project and 71 per cent in favour of Volcano Creek.
Sixty percent of the ballots cast were required to approve the agreements.
“Our people have spoken and we are pleased the majority of Tahltans support the Mclymont Creek and Volcano Creek Run of River Agreements,” says Annita McPhee, President of the Tahltan Central Council.
“Tahltan people wanted a transparent, informative decision making process and it was important to us that all Tahltan people are a part of what decisions take place on our land.”
In response to member feedback, the Tahltan leadership worked to ensure the Tahltan Nation benefits economically and financially, receives meaningful benefits from AltaGas and associated developments and impacts are managed and minimized during and after construction.
The Impact Benefit Agreements with AltaGas provide benefits to the Tahltan in the form of financing and direct training, employment and various contracting opportunities.
The Tahltan Central Council expects the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation, the Nation’s business arm, and other Tahltan businesses will be directly involved in the development of the projects.
The agreements also outline a partnership between the Tahltan and AltaGas that provides for revenue sharing, profit sharing, and ownership in the projects with the option to purchase additional ownership.
“The agreements reflect our members’ input, and that provide a gateway to a future that enables our Nation and people to prosper, while also protecting our culture and way of life,” said Rick McLean, chief of the Tahltan Band Council.
Marie Quock, chief of the Iskut Band Council agreed.
“These agreements will ensure Tahltans participate in the decisions on our territory and manage development that respects our values. This vote says our people are willing to participate in this process, to ensure we benefit for current and future generations,” she said.
The Tahltan Nation includes on and off-reserve Tahltans living in Telegraph Creek, Dease Lake and Iskut, and more than 3,000 people living across the country.
Tahltan traditional territory encompasses 11 per cent of B.C.
More than 50 per cent of all mineral exploration and mine development in the province takes place in Tahltan traditional territory.
The Tahltan Central Council exists to define and protect Tahltan inherent Aboriginal rights and title, to protect the eco-systems and natural resources of Tahltan traditional territory through pursuing sustainable economic development, and to strengthen the cultural wellness of the Tahltan community by promoting traditional values based on the concepts of caring, sharing, cooperation, truth, honour, fairness and above all, respect.