Lax Kw’alaams offered $1 billion to support Petronas LNG

Prince Rupert First Nation will receive $1 billion from Petronas, $108 million in land from province

An artist's rendering of the Pacific Northwest LNG project on Lelu Island, Prince Rupert

The Lax Kw’alaams First Nation will receive $20 million up front and annual payments over 40 years from Malaysia’s Petronas if its members vote in favour of supporting the company’s $11 billion Pacific Northwest LNG project.

The annual payments would start at $13 million and rise to $50.5 million by the end of the 40-year term.

The B.C. government also appears to be helping Petronas sweeten the pot by offering land worth more than $108 million.

In total, the First Nation will receive a total of $1 billion over 40 years, under an agreement, not counting the $100 million worth of land from B.C., according to membership bulletins published on the Lax Kw’alaams website.

Should Lax Kw’alaams members approve the agreement in upcoming membership votes, they would receive $20 million upon signing, another $2 million during construction and another $5.6 million upon completion.

The First Nation will receive 2,200 hectares of land in the Prince Rupert Harbour, according to an outline of the proposal. The land, adjacent to reserve land, will be designated as private land for both industrial and residential use. The value of the land is calculated at $108 million.

An additional 1,000 hectares of land in Prince Rupert Harbour and Grassy Point are also on the table for future negotiations.

The offer also includes a guarantee of jobs for all Tsimshian people. (The Lax Kw’alaams includes nine tribes; there are a total of 14 Tsimshian tribes in B.C.)

Once the LNG plant is in operation, every Tsimshian person who applies for a job will be hired, provided he or she has completed job training programs or other wise has the required qualifications.

All Lax Kw’alaams members will be asked to vote for or against the proposal at a series of membership meetings to be held in Lax Kw’alaams Village, Prince Rupert and Vancouver, from May 4 through May 12. The two Vancouver meetings take place May 11 and 12 at Chateau Granville.

nbennett@biv.com