Good Afternoon, as many of the members may have knowledge already of Nak’azdli Whut’en signing the Coastal GasLink Benefits Agreement. We are aware that in decisions such as this one there are 3 outcomes, members who are happy, members who are upset and members who do not care.
I personally struggled with this one, but I had to put my personal feelings aside and to have the best interest of Nak’azdli at the forefront of the decision.
I thought back on the struggles of a major project in our back yard, how Nak’azdli had opposition to the project, and the project went forward. We had lost out on many opportunities, not saying we didn’t receive any opportunities, but I strongly believe that if we focused our efforts on being involved in the project that we would have many more opportunities for Nak’azdli members.
Yes, I do understand that Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) involves fracking which involves water. However we were not deciding on a fracking project, we were deciding on a LNG pipeline to be installed in an existing right of way.
I strongly believe being involved from the start of the project to the end is the best way we ensure that the project will be done to Nak’azdli standards. With our camp partners doing the camps we are involved in how the camp is operated. We also have a partnership with a security business and a busing business, where we will have the opportunity to secure those contracts. I do believe that the contract for the clearing has been conditionally awarded to a Nak’azdli member owned business. We also have a joint venture with a natural and cultural heritage resource management company.
We also ensured that the directly impacted keyohs would be able to access the area upon request and to meet on a regular basis, that in no way does this mean we support pipelines and/or fracking. A liaison committee for the project will be formed. Also along with the company we will look at opportunities for Nak’azdli to embark on a fish habitat rehabilitation program. We will ensure we have people whom we trust to be present when they plan to go under both the salmon and the Stuart rivers. The company will work with Nak’azdli to ensure that the timing of burrowing under the rivers does not conflict with our salmon runs.
In my best judgement with the items listed above I strongly believe we have made the right decision to be involved. To ensure that the project is done to Nak’azdli Standards.
Or we could have sat on the sidelines and cry foul, wondering why we don’t have opportunities for Nak’azdli, or why the drilling when the salmon is running, the list goes on.
Also if you must know how the numbers on the vote at the table, it was a 3 to 3 vote leaving the decision entirely in the chiefs vote