VICTORIA – B.C. has reached successful agreements with First Nations that deliver specific, practical benefits for communities, companies and the province by shortening project timelines, facilitating faster permits for projects, and creating new jobs, partnerships and training programs.
British Columbia has a unique government-to-government relationship with First Nations. The Province recently announced the new Aboriginal Business and Investment Council, chaired by Haisla Chief Councilor Ellis Ross. The council will work with Aboriginal communities and the private sector to foster economic participation, development and investment in Aboriginal communities.
The Province also signed a Land and Resource Management and Shared Decision-Making Agreement with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation this year, creating 13 new protected areas, providing resource development opportunities and investment certainty for more than three million hectares in northwestern B.C. The Taku River Tlingit have already begun to work co-operatively with mining developers in the area and future resource extraction projects are expected to support around 350 jobs during construction and 280 operations jobs.
British Columbia is also working with the Haisla and other First Nations to develop the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) sector. The Kitimat LNG facility in northern B.C. is attracting investment, and creating jobs and business opportunities.
Since taking effect in 2009, the Tsawwassen treaty has enabled the First Nation to sit on Metro Vancouver and initiate a multi-million dollar infrastructure project that will result in about 167,225 square meters (1.8 million square feet) of shopping, office and entertainment space. The Tsawwassen treaty is the first modern-day treaty achieved under the B.C. Treaty Commission process.
These agreements and investments propel First Nations into fuller economic participation, provide jobs and new partnerships, and demonstrate the Province’s commitment to ensuring that Aboriginal people are an integral part of B.C.’s economic future.