The Kitselas First Nation, one of the key players in allowing B.C. Hydro's northwest transmission line to proceed, has made a large step in treaty talks.
On Wednesday, nearly 66 per cent of the Terrace area voters responded in favour of their Agreement in Principle, which indicates a desire to continue towards final treaty negotiations.
"The Kitselas people made history today. And that is very good news for Kitselas, Terrace and the region. It is humbling to be part of this," said Chief Judy Gerow. "Our many non-aboriginal business partners, friends and neighbours stand to benefit directly from this economic certainty."
The agreement in principle is the fourth stage of treaty negotiations and sets up the groundwork for the final agreement. Once the general terms of the agreement have been finalized, the federal and provincial governments will present an offer of cash and land to the Kitselas. Once final, the first nation will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the Indian Act and will have authority to control and charge fees for anyone wanting access to their land.
In 2010, the Kitselas First Nation signed an impact benefit agreement with B.C. Hydro related to the $404-million northwest transmission line - seen as a catalyst for opening northwest B.C. to mining.