METLAKATLA, BC, Dec. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - Metlakatla First Nation is located on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, with its reserve community located 7 km west of Prince Rupert. The membership of Metlakatla First Nation is approximately 900, with a significant portion of the membership living in Prince Rupert.
In early December, the Metlakatla Governing Council approved a term sheet for an Impact Benefit Agreement with PNW LNG for their facility proposed on Lelu Island, within the District of Port Edward and the Port of Prince Rupert. The term sheet identifies benefits that will be provided to Metlakatla should the project go ahead, as well as specific commitments from the company to address environmental mitigations associated with the project
While the specific terms of the agreement remain confidential, there will be financing for cultural support, Metlakatla participation in ongoing environmental monitoring, training and capacity development, access to employment, as well as lump sum annual payments based on the level of operations at the facility. Metlakatla Development Corporation will also participate in contracting opportunities once PNW LNG has selected an Engineering Procurement and Construction Contractor to build the LNG facility.
The draft terms of the Impact Benefit Agreement were recommended by the Metlakatla Development Corporation, who negotiated the agreement on behalf of Governing Council and the membership. How individual member benefits are distributed will be addressed by Metlakatla Governing Council following the signing of the Agreement.
The Metlakatla Development Corporation and Stewardship Office staff met with Metlakatla membership this November four times (with two meetings in Metlakatla and two in Prince Rupert) to discuss the draft agreement, collect feedback, and answer questions. Throughout the EA process, the Metlakatla Stewardship Society has also sought the feedback of the membership. Member feedback was specifically gathered through the Traditional Use Study and Socio-Economic Study. Information from these studies that identified member concerns was shared with Pacific NorthWest LNG and with the BC Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
On November 25th, the Provincial Government issued an Environmental Assessment certificate to Pacific Northwest LNG for their terminal proposed for Lelu Island, as well as Environmental Assessment certificates for the corresponding natural gas pipeline to the terminal. However before the project can move forward, the project must also proceed to a positive Final Investment Decision, and receive approval on its Environmental Impact Statement from the Government of Canada.
Metlakatla's Stewardship Office, established in 2012, has been actively engaged with Pacific NorthWest LNG on the project through the Provincial and Federal environmental assessment process since the company first submitted their Project Description in April of 2012. The office conducted and participated in several studies to contribute to the projects assessment, including a Traditional Use Study, disposal at sea study, socio-economic study, and they are now looking at a comprehensive Cumulative Effects study to look at the potential impacts of all development proposed for the territory.
An agreement with the Metlakatla First Nation for the associated TransCanada pipeline that will transporting the gas to Lelu Island from northeastern BC is still pending and negotiations are continuing.
SOURCE: Metlakatla First Nation
For further information: on this issue, or to schedule an interview, please contact: Veronika Stewart, Communications Manager | Metlakatla First Nation, Tel: (250) 628 3234 (ext. 28), Cell: (250) 922 5058, Email: [email protected]