TransCanada Corp. announced that its Coastal GasLink pipeline project now has 13 signed project agreements with First Nations and is in continuing consultation with an additional eight First Nations along the proposed pipeline route. Kitselas First Nation and McLeod Lake Indian Band are among the latest First Nations to have signed agreements that outline benefits and commitments that will be provided to these communities during construction and for as long as the pipeline is in service.
"These groups have demonstrated their desire to contribute meaningfully and constructively throughout the life cycle of this project," said Rick Gateman, Coastal GasLink pipeline project president. "Our relationship with them, and the knowledge we have gained about their traditional use of the land, makes Coastal GasLink a better project."
Coastal GasLink has a comprehensive approach to working with Aboriginal groups on opportunities related to B.C.’s emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, including developing skills training, employment and utilizing Aboriginal businesses in local contracting opportunities.
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Coastal GasLink team. We believe that meaningful participation can work to the benefit of our members and the project, and that we can achieve balance with protecting our environment," said Chief Joe Bevan, Kitselas First Nation.
Agreements vary, and enable First Nations to allocate the benefits in areas that are of most importance to their community. Some benefits could include training and education, provisions for a liaison committee to maintain ongoing relationships between Coastal GasLink and the First Nation, or designated contracting opportunities specific to the community that has signed the agreement.
To date, the Coastal GasLink team has had over 15,000 interactions and engagements with Aboriginal communities along the proposed pipeline route, and over a third of the 350,000+ hours of fieldwork on the project have been conducted by Aboriginal people. In addition, this modern energy infrastructure project will provide long-term economic benefits for B.C. and Canada. An estimated 32 per cent of this $4.8 billion plus capital project will be spent locally in B.C., with economic benefits including over 2,000 jobs during construction and over $20 million in annual property tax payments. The project has already spent almost $48 million in Northern B.C. plus over $2 million in community and aboriginal investments along the route.
Coastal GasLink is proposing to construct and operate a 416-mile natural gas pipeline from the Groundbirch area near Dawson Creek, B.C. to the proposed LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export facility near Kitimat, B.C. The project is a key component of TransCanada’s capital growth plan, which includes more than $13 billion in proposed natural gas pipeline projects in the province of British Columbia.