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Resource Agreements Build Certainty In The Northeast

by NationTalk on April 18, 2007749 Views

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2007OTP0045-000452
April 17, 2007

Office of the Premier
Blueberry River First Nations

VICTORIA – The Province and Blueberry River First Nations (BRFN) have achieved four long-term agreements that establish ways to work together and support economic certainty for the resource industry in B.C.’s northeast region, announced Premier Gordon Campbell today.

“The agreements announced today will help the Blueberry River First Nations create a sustainable future for their community,” said Campbell. “These agreements will ensure that Blueberry River First Nations are engaged in resource and economic development in the region with us. We are committed to closing the gap that exists between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal British Columbians and providing opportunities for First Nations to participate in the mainstream economy.”The BRFN is a Treaty 8 First Nation. There are about 400 members and their reserve is located about 80 km northwest of Fort St. John. The four land and resource management agreements set out how the Province and the BRFN will consult in land-use planning, and the oil and gas, mining and mineral and forestry sectors. Details of the agreements include:

· A 13-year strategic land-use planning agreement that establishes how the Province and the BRFN will work together on land-use planning within the BRFN consultation area;

· A 13-year long-term oil and gas agreement that provides for a clear consultation process for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on tenure decisions, and a structured, measurable and predictable consultation process for Oil and Gas Commission on operational decisions;

· A 13-year mining and minerals protocol agreement that defines a consultation process with the BRFN for new coal tenures and for operational decisions under the Mines Act; and

· A 5-year forestry agreement which provides access to 100,000 cubic metres of timber.

“These agreements are about increasing our say in our territory, on matters important to us. The Province recognizes our Treaty rights are important to us,” said Chief Norman Yahey. “These agreements make sure we are fully engaged, to ensure the sustainability of our territory, for our children and their children.”

In June 2006, the Province also signed an Economic Benefits Agreement with the BRFN for members to share in the benefits of resource activity and play a greater role in the regional economy. To date, more than $6 million has been provided through the Economic Benefits Agreement.

The agreements with the BRFN support the Province’s Pacific Leadership Agenda to build a new relationship with First Nations and Aboriginal people, conclude treaties, and close gaps in health, housing, education, and provide economic opportunities.

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1 Backgrounder attached.

Media contact:

Mike Morton
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
250 213-8218

Howard Southwell
Chief Negotiator
Blueberry River First Nations
250 793-5564

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