TransCanada announced last week that all 20 First Nations groups along the length of the Coastal GasLink pipeline have now signed a project agreement.
Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Witset First Nation, Skin Tyee Nation, Cheslatta Carrier Nation, Burns Lake Band and Nee Tahi Buhn Band are part of this agreement.
According to Karen Ogen-Toews, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, this is great news for First Nations in the region.
“When the pipeline goes through, it will mean employment and career opportunities for Indigenous people, and long-term revenue for their communities and councils,” she said in a news release.
The First Nations LNG Alliance, headed by Ogen-Toews, is a collective of First Nations who are participating in, and supportive of, sustainable and responsible LNG development in B.C.
Ogen-Toews noted that Coastal GasLink has already awarded about $620 million in conditional contracts for First Nations businesses along the pipeline route, and that the project would mean a further $400 million in contracts for Indigenous and local B.C. communities.
“The announcement proves that projects can get approved in Canada, if proper consultation takes place with First Nations, by both government and industry,” she said. “All parties are to be commended for their hard work, demonstrated by the number of agreements the provincial government and TransCanada entered into for this project.”
The Coastal GasLink pipeline project is an approximately 670-km pipeline from the Dawson Creek area to the west coast of B.C. Pipeline construction is expected to begin soon after a positive investment decision is reached.
According to Kiel Giddens, a spokesperson for Coastal GasLink, the final investment decision for the project is dependent upon a positive final investment decision for the Kitimat-based liquefied natural gas facility proposed by LNG Canada.
“The [LNG Canada’s] Joint-Venture partners are still completing their important milestones required before they can take a positive final investment decision,” he explained.
Plans to build a workforce camp near Houston, which would accommodate approximately 800 workers to support the construction needs of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, are still on track.
The so-called Huckleberry Camp will be located approximately 28 km south of Houston, near Morice River Road and the Morice River Forest Service Road.
TransCanada says an estimated 2000 to 2500 “high-quality, well-paying jobs” will be created across the region during Coastal GasLink’s four-year construction period.