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New agreements confirm benefits of Nisga’a self-government

July 31, 2014

NEW AIYANSH – The Nisga’a Nation and the Province built on their treaty relationship today with a series of agreements that will facilitate the further implementation of the Nisga’a Treaty, establish the Nisga’a Nation as the primary property tax authority on Nisga’a Lands in respect of property such as prospective LNG pipeline infrastructure and provide a share of provincial mining and clean energy revenue generated from the Nass Area.

At a ceremony in New Aiyansh, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad and Nisga’a Lisims Government President Mitchell Stevens signed the Settlement Agreement to resolve issues over the implementation of environmental assessment and consultation obligations under the Nisga’a Treaty including those related to the Kitsault molybdenum mine. In addition, the governments signed the Nisga’a Real Property Tax Coordination Agreement (RPTCA), and the Kitsault Mine Economic and Community Development Agreement (ECDA).

The RPTCA is an agreement entered into in accordance with the Nisga’a Treaty that allows the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG), to collect property taxes from persons other than Nisga’a citizens on Nisga’a Lands. In addition, NLG will have taxing authority over industrial installations such as any future LNG pipelines passing through Nisga’a Lands. Treaties remain the highest form of reconciliation and provide First Nations with a comprehensive set of tools for self-government and participating in the economy.

The Kitsault ECDA supports the advancement of the Kitsault molybdenum mine project and enables the Nisga’a Nation to receive a share of provincial mineral tax revenues collected from its operations. Current mineral tax projections estimate that the Nisga’a Nation will receive approximately $43 million over the 16 year operational life of the mine. This is the first ECDA that the Province has negotiated with the Nisga’a Nation and the fifteenth ECDA the provincial government has negotiated with First Nations.

Further benefits from resources will come from a share of revenues from the Long Lake hydroelectric project. When the hydro project is operating at full capacity, revenue to the Nisga’a Nation is forecast at $123,820 per year over the life of the project. This revenue sharing comes through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund. The hydro project is a 31 mega-watt facility, 25 km outside of Stewart, close the B.C.-Alaska border. The construction of a 10 km 138 kilovolt transmission line connects the site to the BC Hydro grid, with opportunities to interconnect with other regional projects

Quotes:

Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, John Rustad –

“These agreements are positive steps forward for the Nisga’a Nation and highlight the success we have had working together through the Nisga’a Treaty. The ability to more effectively implement the Nisga’a Treaty and generate revenue from property taxes, and share mining and clean energy revenue is good news for Nisga’a communities and for British Columbians.”

Minister of Environment, Mary Polak –

“The Nisga’a Nation and the Environmental Assessment Office have been working side by side over the last year to develop a collaborative approach to environmental assessments. By working together, we can deliver predictable, effective and expeditious environmental assessments that meet the needs of both governments.”

Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett –

“These revenue sharing agreements will ensure the Nisga’a Nation can share in the benefits of economic activity on their Treaty lands and are an example of how the mining and clean energy industries are working together with First Nations and the Province to grow the economy and improve economic opportunities for First Nations communities.”

President of the Nisga’a Lisims Government, Mitchell Stevens –

“These agreements affirm the ongoing government-to-government relationship between Nisga’a Nation and British Columbia necessary for the effective implementation of the Nisga’a Final Agreement. The benefits of these agreements will make significant contributions towards our vision to achieve sustainable prosperity and improve the quality of life of our Nisga’a citizens.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Nisga’a Nation is located in the Nass Area, northwest of Terrace. There are four villages in Nisga’a Lands, Gitlaxt’aamiks, Gitwinksihlkw, Laxgalts’ap and Gingolx.
  • The Nisga’a Treaty is the first modern treaty in British Columbia. It came into effect on May 11, 2000.
  • The Kitsault mine, owned by Avanti Mining Inc., is located 140 km northeast of Prince Rupert.
  • The mine is expected to generate 700 jobs during the construction period and 300 once it is in production.
  • As well as the ECDA related to the Kitsault mine, the Dispute Resolution Settlement Agreement also provides a commitment to negotiate an ECDA framework to share mineral tax revenue on future mining projects in the area.
  • The transitional property tax exemption for Nisga’a citizens has expired.

Learn More:

Nisga’a Nation: www.nisgaanation.ca/

Event is being live streamed and archived at:http://new.livestream.com/accounts/8043264/events/3217791

Media Contacts:

Robin Platts
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 387-1204
250 213-6451 (cell)

Edward Allen
Director of Communications and Intergovernmental Relations
Nisga’a Lisims Government
250 633-3000

BACKGROUNDER

B.C. and Nisga’a Nation dispute resolution settlement agreement

The provincial government and the Nisga’a Nation have reached a settlement agreement to resolve the dispute over the environmental assessment of the Kitsault Mine project.

The settlement agreement provides for:

  • A collaborative process for the Environmental Assessment Office and the Nisga’a Nation to carry out future environmental assessments and are subject to the Environmental Assessment and Protection Chapter of the Nisga’a Treaty which applies to Environmental Assessment and Protection.
  • A commitment to negotiate the Nass Stewardship Protocol, a government-to-government collaboration agreement that will help the Nisga’a Nation and B.C. work together to promote responsible natural resource management and development in a way that honours B.C,’s and the Nisga’a Nation’s responsibilities under the treaty.
  • A commitment from both parties to work towards consensus through the collaborative processes above and have a timely process to follow if consensus is not reached.
  • A commitment to negotiate and try to conclude an Economic and Community Development Agreement (ECDA) framework on mineral tax revenue sharing on future mining projects.

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