BC Hydro signs agreement to support Northwest Transmission Line

Vancouver – BC Hydro and Kitsumkalum First Nation have signed an impact benefit agreement which will provide training, contracting, jobs and other economic opportunities related to the construction of the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL).

With this agreement with the Kitsumkalum, BC Hydro has now signed agreements regarding the NTL project with all eight First Nations and the Nisga’a Nation within the NTL project region.

The Kitsumkalum agreement was ratified unanimously with a vote held on Feb. 13. The Kitsumkalum First Nation has also signed a contract with BC Hydro for right-of-way clearing and access road construction work from kilometer eight to 62 of the NTL right-of-way.

The NTL is estimated to create up to 840 direct jobs during the three years of construction. According to a 2008 report from the Mining Association of B.C., the NTL also has the potential to attract $15 billion in new investment and create more than 10,000 jobs over the next few decades. This project directly links to the Province’s BC Jobs Plan and the economy.

The NTL will be a 344-kilometre, 287-kilovolt transmission line from Skeena Substation, near Terrace, to Bob Quinn Lake. The project will provide a secure interconnection point for clean energy generation projects and supply clean electricity to support future industrial developments in the area.

Once complete, the Northwest Transmission Line will provide clean, reliable power to parts of the Northwest region of B.C. which are currently not part of the BC Hydro transmission grid.

 

Kitsumkalum Chief Don Roberts said: “Chief and Council of Kitsumkalum are very pleased that the Hereditary Chiefs, Band Council and the Community endorsed an agreement with BC Hydro over the Northwest Transmission Line. Kitsumkalum Band Council and negotiators feel that while negotiations leading up to this agreement were long and challenging, the results and projected benefits to Kitsumkalum and the area will be long-lasting and important to the community in many related aspects for further community development. On behalf of Council, I would like to acknowledge and thank BC Hydro for their commitment to continue with a long and lasting working relationship.”

Hon. Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines said: “The Northwest Transmission Line will supply vital power to northwest communities and future industrial developments. It will help to generate employment and attract new investment in the region. Through this benefit agreement, the Kitsumkalum will be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that NTL brings today and for many years to come.”

Hon. Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation said:

“I commend Kitsumkalum and the other First Nations in the project area for working with BC Hydro to build partnerships that will lead to jobs and economic growth, while respecting culture and tradition. This agreement will bring direct immediate and long-term benefits to Kitsumkalum, from a project that will ultimately benefit all British Columbians.”

Greg Reimer, Executive Vice President, Transmission and Distribution, BC Hydro, said:

“This milestone agreement with the Kitsumkalum reflects BC Hydro’s commitment to building relationships with the Kitsumkalum, Nisga’a Nation and all First Nations impacted by the Northwest Transmission Line project. With negotiations complete, we look forward to continue working with the Kitsumkalum to develop economic opportunities during project construction and well beyond.”

NTL project update and more facts

• The Northwest Transmission Line is scheduled to be in service in spring 2014.

• Foundation and structure installation work is expected to begin in late spring/early summer 2012.

• Impact benefits agreements are in place with Nisga’a Nation and with the eight First Nations whose traditional territory is crossed by the project: Kitsumkalum First Nation, three Gitxsan Houses, Gitanyow Nation, Skii km Lax Ha, Kitselas First Nation, Metlakatla First Nation, Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band and Tahltan Nation.

• Direct-award contracts for right-of-way clearing and access road construction have been finalized with the Tahltan Nation, for work in the northernmost 40 km of the right-of-way; with Kitselas First Nation for the southernmost 7 km; and with Kitsumkalum First Nation for km 8 through 62, and work is now underway in these areas.

• Direct-award contract negotiations have also started with Nisga’a Nation and are expected to soon begin with Gitanyow Nation and Skii km lax Ha.

• Last fall, BC Hydro awarded the design-build contract for the transmission line portion of the project to the team of Valard Construction and Burns & McDonnell after a competitive process.

• The NTL project received a B.C. Environmental Assessment Certificate and the required federal course of action decision in February 2011.

• At 344 km, NTL is the longest new transmission line in BC Hydro’s capital plan.

• The Northwest Transmission Line is part of BC Hydro’s regeneration strategy, which is renewing and expanding the province’s electricity system.