Millions expected to flow over 60 years from hydro, while other resource projects expected
VICTORIA, March 14, 2013 /CNW/ - Tahltan Nation is honoured today to sign two major agreements with the province that defines how revenues from a massive hydroelectric project will be shared; and how decisions about all future resource developments will be shaped in Tahltan's traditional territories in northwestern B.C.
The agreements flow directly from one of the largest decisions in Tahltan peoples' recent memory - a successful "yes" referendum vote for the Northwest Transmission Line project in April 2011.
"We knew when we agreed to the hydro transmission line that our lives would be impacted forever," says Annita McPhee, President of Tahltan Central Council.
"We wanted to find a way to have control over the resources and the decisions that were being made in our territory."
"These two agreements today will let us do that."
The first agreement is a resource-revenue-sharing agreement for the Forrest Kerr hydroelectric project - a 195-MW, run-of-river project located entirely on Tahltan territory, 140 kilometres southwest of Iskut, B.C. The project will be the largest run-of-river project in B.C. when construction is completed in mid-2014.
The province will provide Tahltan Nation will revenues beginning at $2.5 million per year over the 60-year life of the project.
The revenue-sharing agreement is the first one signed under B.C.'s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, which was created by the Clean Energy Act.
Shared Decision-Making Agreement
The second agreement is a new and historic government-to-government framework that will see Tahltan Nation and the B.C. government jointly make decisions about resources on Tahltan lands. Over the coming years, the two parties will address wildlife issues, mineral exploration and environmental monitoring, for example.
The shared decision-making agreement comes at a critical time. Recent hydro projects are creating new roads and infrastructure that will open up other resource development possibilities. There are 15-20 mines currently under consideration.
"While the 'Sacred Headwaters' of the Klappan remains off limits, we still believe economic development can happen in other parts of our lands if the projects are done right."
"Our people value working hard. We're not against development."
The province will provide Tahltan Nation with three-year funding of $1.2 million to finance a formal lands structure.
The Tahltan leadership is represented by Tahltan Central Council President Annita McPhee, Tahltan Band Chief Rick McLean, and Iskut Band Chief Marie Quock.
SOURCE: Tahltan Central Council
For further information:
Annita McPhee, President, Tahltan Central Council
cell: (604) 754-9974
Annita will be at the signing ceremony at the legislature in Victoria at 8 a.m.
Following, she will be available for media interviews.