Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN), a Canadian aboriginals group, has allowed the development of a $30 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant project in Vancouver Island.
Upstart Firm Steelhead LNG Corp. will lead the proposed project on HFN-owned land at Sarita Bay, about 10 km north of Anacla, at the southern end of Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island.
"We're open for business. For too long, we've been left behind in the resource industry and basically consulted after the fact. We want to be part of this LNG project," Jeff Cook, HFN chief councilor, told the Globe and Mail, noting they gave their go signal to the project based on the mandate of the Supreme Court of Canada in May stipulating that ancestral lands could only be explored with the consent of aboriginals.
The Huu-ay-aht is part of the 2011 Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, the Globe and Mail reported. They are one of only a handful of treaty and land claim pacts in British Columbia.
The project, which includes a land-based liquefaction facility, could create hundreds of direct jobs from design through construction, and hundreds more of additional full-time, operational jobs should it pushes through.
"We look forward to working with Steelhead LNG to explore economic development opportunities for our people," Cook said in a release.
"LNG represents a unique opportunity for our citizens, our region and the province, and this agreement will provide us with an opportunity to see how potential LNG projects might fit with the priorities and initiatives identified in our strategic plan."
The Huu-ay-aht mostly depends on tourism and fishing as sources for livelihoods.
The HFN is a self-governing, modern treaty nation of about 750 people whose lands are located in the Barclay Sound region in the west coast of Vancouver Island at the entrance to the Port Alberni inlet.
Steelhead LNG recently applied for a license before Canada's National Energy Board to export up to 30 million mt (41.4 Bcf) of LNG annually for 25 years.