Are economic agreements replacing the Treaty process in the name of resource development in BC?
A Prince Rupert area First Nation band will begin voting today on a billion dollar LNG deal offered by Pacific Northwest, the proposed Petronas project..
Thirty-six hundred band members will begin voting in a series of meetings with a show of hands on the billion-dollar offer to build a facility on their traditional territory.
Billion dollar vote by a show of hands
According to a two page brief for members on the Lax Kw’alaams web site once a deal is signed, construction begins, and operations start the LNG company will hand the band $27 million dollars in three one time payments.
The Lax Kw’alaam will then get annual payments beginning at $12 million and rising to $50 million over the life of the deal.
Two page brief on the billion dollar deal not very specific
Also at play are lands from the province to the band of just under seven-thousand acres worth 1$100 million dollars.
Band members will also be offered jobs. And millions more will be offered for road projects, training, scholarships, fisheries compensation and monitoring.
Concerns raised over how band members have been asked to decide
Simi Sara spoke with Dr. Judith Sayers, member of the Hupacasath First Nation and adjunct professor with the Peter Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, who voiced her concerns about how the decision process is taking place.
According to Dr. Sayers, the band members will only have seven hours to decide after being presented with all of the information. At stake is how the money will be handled, what rights the members will be giving up as far as fishing and hunting on their traditional lands, and other rights to the lands, plus how the community will be developed for the members.
Sayers also told us that because there is so much money is being offered without a treaty in place, this deal could put at risk the Treaty process.
Listen to the full interview here with Dr. Judith Sayers here:
Read the two page agreement here: