Coastal GasLink inks deals with six First Nations for natural gas pipeline

Project agreements have been signed with six First Nations and Coastal GasLink for their natural gas line to Kitimat.

Coastal GasLink, the natural gas pipeline proposal which would supply LNG Canada in Kitimat, has signed project agreements with a number of First Nations which the company is hailing as a milestone in the pre-development of the project.

The company announced signing project agreements with six First Nations on June 29: the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Skin Tyee Nation, Nee-Tahi-Buhn Band, Yekooche First Nation, Doig River First Nation, and Halfway River First Nation.

Coastal GasLink’s Director of Project Planning and Execution Greg Cano said the company is required under the terms of their government certification to consult and accommodate with 19 total First Nations, although the company has expanded their own definition to 21.

He said interim agreements are made with 20 of those 21, including with the Haisla First Nation.

He said the company looked at areas of the pipeline which may cross traditional territories of First Nations which weren’t under the list of nations required by B.C.

Cano said the project agreements cover monetary benefits as well as contracting and employment opportunities.

It can also include further subjects but the specific terms remain confidential, including how much these project agreements are worth to the company.

Meanwhile the company is sitting with an environmental certificate in hand and do have their construction permits from seven of eight sections of the pipeline from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, said Cano.

He said they just need the permits for the last section and for a meter station both in Kitimat.

“We have already provided significant benefits to First Nations along the route. We’ve had over 300,000 man hours now of field work and about 27 per cent of that has been Aboriginal employment along our route,” Cano added.

The company says in their pre-construction phase they have already spent $16 million in contracting and employment opportunities for Aboriginals on the pipeline route.