Updated with map, agreement details
The Haisla Nation and the BC government have signed an agreement that will lead to a third liquified natural gas project near Kitimat.
The “Haisla Framework Agreement” allows for the lease or sale of up to approximately 700 hectares of Crown land near the Douglas Channel, and for the foreshore lease of submerged lands of up to 102 hectares for a berthing facility.
The area is just north of the Haisla Reserve land at Bish Cove where the KM LNG project will be located, but south of the proposed BC LNG and Enbridge terminals. It is all undeveloped and unserviced land within the boundaries of the District of Kitimat.
That could mean, if all projects go ahead there the west side of Douglas Channel from Kitimat almost to Jesse Falls would see three, perhaps fourm hydrocarbon facilities and terminals.
The agreement provides the Haisla with the options for up to a 60-year lease or the possibility of purchasing of the land outright.
The agreement also commits both parties to start work on land-use planning for areas around the Douglas Channel, which, the BC government says, has tremendous potential as a marine port.
A news release from the BC government today does not specify the backer of the terminal, While the most obvious candidate could be the Shell project LNG project (last fall Shell purchased the old Methanex site and the associated marine terminal at Kitimat) there is now media speculation that there could be other players involved, possibly another giant Exxon Mobile.
A news release from the BC government says that the “framework agreement” is a “significant step toward government’s commitment to have three terminals and their connecting pipelines operating by 2020, creating more than 1,400 ongoing jobs and generating an estimated $600 billion in economic activity over 30 years.”
The release says the agreement “provides the structure for a land purchase or lease that will allow the Haisla to partner with industry to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and marine export terminal on the west side of the Douglas Channel in the areas around Haisla Reserve #6.”
The release quotes, Ida Chong, BC Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation as saying:
Our government is working with First Nations like the Haisla to create new jobs and opportunities throughout British Columbia. This agreement builds on our strong partnership with the Haisla Nation, and it is the key to unlocking the vast potential of a whole new natural gas export industry in British Columbia which will provide long-term stability for families and communities.
It also quotes Ellis Ross, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation: -
This agreement allows the Haisla to look at the land on the west side of the Douglas Channel in a different light. This gives the Haisla and associated projects the certainty needed for the LNG proposals and other projects coming forward for our territory. If we are able to do this, the Haisla people will benefit, as will all British Columbians and Canadians.
The release goes on to say that the agreement signals a closer working relationship between the Haisla and BC in and around the Kitimat and Douglas Channel area. It commits both parties to start work on land-use planning for areas around the Douglas Channel, which has tremendous potential as a marine port. This certainty will allow other development projects in the area to proceed.
The agreement says the Haisla will work independently to find a suitable partner for the development of the land. Details of the lease or sale are expected to be finalized this fall.