Geography blesses First Nations with economic opportunity

TWO recent moves by the Haisla and the Nisga’a prove the mantra of the real estate business – location, location, location – to be true once again.

For the Haisla it’s the purchase from the Kitimat-Stikine regional district of the MK Bay Marina with the expectation of improvements and placing it on a solid business footing.

Key here is ending what had been an unsatisfactory hodge-podge of informal property use agreements between the Haisla, the regional district and Rio Tinto Alcan for marina operations.

For their part, the Nisga’a have carved out financial and other benefits from both the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission natural gas pipeline project from owner TransCanada Pipelines and from the provincial government for the portion of the line which would cross over Nisga’a Lands.

An important provision in the above is an option for the Nisga’a to use a portion of the pipeline’s capacity to attract an LNG partner.

It’s still early days but what is happening here is the provision of the building blocks for wealth creation based on sound business practices, which is the only way for First Nations to rise up and become equal partners in the overall economy.

Geographic location has blessed both the Haisla and the Nisga’a with economic opportunity. As they prosper, so will we all.

Editorial, The Terrace Standard, Dec. 3, 2014