DEASE LAKE, BC, April 18 /CNW/ - Members of the Tahltan Nation voted 82
percent in favour of the Northwest Transmission Line agreements the
Nation reached with BC Hydro and the BC Government in a historic
decision that will shape the future of the Nation and its people. More
than 1,700 Tahltans registered to vote and more than 770 of eligible
voters of Tahltan ancestry 18 years of age and older turned out to
vote, achieving a 45 percent participation rate.
"This is an exciting and pivotal time for our Nation. We are pleased the
majority of Tahltans support the agreements our leadership team worked
hard to achieve in the best interests of our people and our Nation,"
says Annita McPhee Tribal Chair of the Tahltan Central Council. "This
historical decision has come after months of substantial outreach with
Tahltan members across the province, in Whitehorse and Alberta, and the
agreements we reached reflect the input they provided."
In response to member feedback, the Tahltan leadership worked to ensure
the Tahltan Nation benefits economically and financially, receives
meaningful benefits from the NTL and associated developments, impacts
are managed and minimized during and after construction, and the
Tahltan are in partnership with the Province to shape the future of the
Tahltan territory and community.
"The agreements will enable us to foster social, cultural, economic and
environmental health within our community," says McPhee. "It will be a
delicate balance to manage economic development and maximize the
benefits to our people, while also protecting our culture and way of
life and minimizing impacts to our land. But it is a commitment we have
made to our people and one that we are confident we can deliver on."
The Impacts Benefits Agreement with BC Hydro addresses the direct
impacts from construction of the approximately 70 kilometres of
transmission line within Tahltan territory, as well as provides
benefits to the Tahltan in the form of cash and direct training,
employment and sub-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 transmission line construction.
The Government-to-Government Framework Agreement outlines a partnership
between the Tahltan and the Province of BC that is intended to
collaboratively shape development of the Tahltan territory and Tahltan
community in the future beyond the NTL. The agreement addresses four
topic areas: shared decision making for lands and resources within
Tahltan territory; resource revenue sharing of direct provincial
revenues for mining, tourism, independent power, forestry and other
potential projects within Tahltan territory; addressing social and
cultural changes to the Tahltan community; and collaborative planning
of the energy sector within Tahltan territory.
The agreements also commit the Tahltan and the Province to a series of
tasks and further negotiations that will implement the commitments
outlined in the agreement.
Rick McLean, chief of the Tahltan Band Council is also optimistic about
the opportunities for the future for the Tahltan Nation. "I am
confident the Tahltan leadership negotiated agreements for our Nation
that 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."
Marie Quock, chief of the Iskut Band Council agrees. "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."
The 287-kilovolt (kV), 344 km line will connect BC Hydro's Skeena
Substation near Terrace with a new substation to be built near Bob
Quinn Lake, passing through the territory of other First Nations as
"Implementation of the NTL agreements is a complex task that will take
time and commitment. The Province, through the BC cabinet, has
formalized its commitment to this unprecedented partnership. The
Tahltan will remain focussed to ensure the commitments are met for the
benefit of all Tahltans for generations to come."
About the Tahltan Nation
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 British Columbia. More than 50 per cent of all mineral
exploration and mine development in the province takes place in Tahltan
traditional territory. For more information about the Tahltan Central
Council, visit www.tahltan.org.
About the Tahltan Central Council
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.
SOURCE Tahltan Central Council
For further information:
Annita McPhee, Tribal Chair, Tahltan Central Council
Cell: (778) 229-1264