THE Petronas-led joint venture seeking to develop the Pacific Northwest LNG project in Canada has offered C$1bn (US$823m) to the First Nations community whose territory it will sit in, according to reports.
The Globe and Mail says that the joint venture, which also includes TransCanada and the British Columbia government, is seeking to share the wealth from energy extraction and reach a successful outcome with Lax Kw’alaams, the traditional owners of Prince Rupert Island where the LNG facility will be based. The money will be transferred to the community over the next 40 years. In addition, the British Columbia government is offering 2,200 ha of land to Lax Kw’alaams, worth around C$100m. The total package equates to around C$320,000 per person.
“This will be a real game-changer for many First Nations in terms of how they can build their future,” British Columbia aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister John Rustad said in an interview with the Globe and Mail, adding: “There is no question liquefied natural gas sets the stage for an incredible opportunity for all of British Columbia and especially the First Nations involved in it.”
The Globe and Mail says that the 3,600 members of the Lax Kw’alaams community will vote on the proposals later in May. The community has also been offered job training, employment, road paving and a fisheries compensation fund. The Pacific Northwest LNG partners have also pledged to protect sensitive salmon habitats.
“Pacific NorthWest LNG has tabled a substantive offer that, we believe, addresses the fundamental areas of importance as they relate to the Lax Kw’alaams. This offer represents a multigenerational opportunity to the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation,” Spencer Sproule, Pacific NorthWest LNG’s senior adviser of corporate affairs told the Globe and Mail.
Additionally, Canada’s Environmental Assessment Agency will rule on whether the Pacific Northwest LNG project can go ahead in September.