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Province’s land sale to Haisla Nation strengthens relationship

For Immediate Release
2014PREM0061-000831
June 17, 2014
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

KITIMAT – Premier Christy Clark, Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross and Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan today celebrated a recent land sale as a big step forward for the Kitimat region, the Haisla Nation and the Province.

The sale of the former District of Kitimat hospital lands by the Province to the Haisla Nation significantly enhances the relationship between the three governments, and will enable new economic development opportunities for the Haisla and the Kitimat community. The purchase was celebrated in a ceremony held at the former hospital site.

“This sale enables the Haisla to commercially develop this land, and provide their Nation more ways to meaningfully engage in the economy,” said Premier Christy Clark. “It’s going to create a lot of opportunities for the Haisla First Nation, the community of Kitimat, and the broader region.”

“Today’s agreement returns a key piece of Haisla traditional territory to the hands of the Haisla people,” said Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross. “It is our intent to develop this land for the benefit of everyone in the Kitimat Valley – Haisla and non-Haisla alike.  We thank the provincial government for its willingness to include us in these negotiations and the District of Kitimat for its commitment to reach an agreement.”

Through its corporate business arm, Haisla Business Operations Inc., the Haisla Nation will commercially develop the newly purchased lands, located centrally in Kitimat. The development will provide Haisla Nation more opportunities to meaningfully engage in the economy during all phases of the lands’ development, including construction and operations.

“We are pleased to be part of this celebration today recognizing a new relationship with our neighbours the Haisla,” said Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan. “We hope to continue to work together for the betterment of our communities.”

“This agreement is another example of what can be achieved when three governments work together to pursue new economic opportunities,” said Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. “Developing the former Kitimat hospital lands will benefit the community and strengthen the local economy as well.”

The former Kitimat hospital lands are located within the District of Kitimat and were transferred from the Northern Health Authority to the Province in 2010.

Concluded on May 22, 2014, the purchase follows the signing of a conditional sale agreement between the Haisla Nation and the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services in April 2013. The purchase was contingent on the Haisla Nation and the District of Kitimat reaching agreement about how the lands will be developed.

The Province will continue to work with industry, First Nations and communities to ensure lasting benefits are achieved as the LNG industry develops in the Northwest.

Quick Facts

  • Kitimat is a district municipality in the North Coast region of British Columbia and has a population of 9,009 (2012, BC Stats). It is a member municipality of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.
  • The Haisla Nation comprises approximately 1780 members, with 700 people living on the main reserve, Kitamaat Village, situated at the head of Douglas Channel, 15 kilometres south of the District of Kitimat.
  • Haisla Nation entered the treaty process in January 1994 and is in stage four of the six-stage process, the agreement in principle stage.
  • The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation facilitated negotiations between Haisla Nation, District of Kitimat and the Ministry of Innovation, Technology and Citizens’ Services, who were responsible for the land on behalf of the Province.
  • On April 7, 2014, the District of Kitimat and Haisla Nation reached agreements on how the lands would be developed.
  • A joint federal-B.C. news conference on Jan. 22, 2013, announced final regulatory pieces to permit the building of a new LNG plant on Haisla Nation reserve land. The plant is a joint venture of Apache Canada and Chevron Canada, in co-operation with Haisla Nation.
  • Over the past decade, the Haisla Nation has engaged in 17 joint ventures with industries seeking to support economic activity for the region.
  • On Sept.14, 2012, Haisla Nation and the Province signed the Haisla Framework Agreement (HFA) allowing for the purchase or lease of approximately 800 hectares of land adjacent to IR #6, intended for LNG development.
  • The HFA also commits the parties to land use planning around the Douglas Channel, helping to create certainty and allowing other projects in the area to proceed.
  • On April 11, 2013, Haisla and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations signed a term sheet for the sale of the lands. Negotiators concluded an interim lease over the lands and foreshore in accordance with the HFA on May 13, 2013, which came into effect on Aug. 15, 2013. Sale negotiations continue.

Media Contacts:

Sam Oliphant
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
250 952-7252

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

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