Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Premier Clark heralds 'Durable Partnership' with Lax Kw'alaams during community visit

Premier Clark, LNG and Housing Minister Rich Coleman with
Mayor John Helin during a stop in Lax Kw'alaams today

(Photo from Premier Clark's twitter feed)

The Province of British Columbia took advantage of a visit to Lax Kw'alaams today by Premier Clark and Housing Minister Rich Coleman, in order to re-introduce a November funding announcement that allocates 4.8 million dollars to complete two new projects for the community.

As we noted earlier today on the blog, Premier Christy Clark along with Housing and LNG Minister Rich Coleman were in Lax Kw'alaams to tour the community and to outline the latest investment in housing that is part of the province's commitment to Housing issues across BC.

$2.1 million of the funding that was outlined today will be directed towards eight units for Seniors, with another $2.6  million allocated for a 10 units to house families. Construction for both projects is expected to start this year, with occupancy set for 2018.

The funding announcement from this afternoon's visit, provided some further background to the Housing initiatives revealed for the North Coast back in November.

While in Lax Kw'alaams, Premier Clark noted that the long term prospects for the community looked very favourable and indicated that things would continue on that path with the progress of the LNG industry in the region, noting that members of Lax Kw'alaams would have opportunity for work, or as she put it, the first crack at jobs with the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

She also paid her respects to the Mayor, the elders and in particular praised the educators that she had met during her visit to the Coast Tsimshian as well as those supporting the school that she had met during her visit to the community.

Many of her comments to those attending the event touched on relations between First Nations and the Federal and Provincial government and noted how residents of communities like Lax Kw'alaams had a vision for what they want their communities to look like.

To close her remarks Premier Clark reviewed how the province is approaching Reconciliation with First Nation communities and how investments in such areas as education, training and other economic initiatives are important to the Province

“The Lax Kw’alaams Band is creating new, long-term opportunities for their community,” ... “This community has a bright future as new infrastructure developments move forward and the economic prospects of a liquefied natural gas industry advances”.

More on her comments for the community can be reviewed from the audio file below:

While there, both the Premier and Mr. Coleman toured the Coast Tsimshian Academy which gave cause for the Housing and LNG Minister to celebrate the achievement of the Lax Kw'alaams community.

“This new school is spectacular, and it really shows the commitment of the Lax Kw’alaams Band to make the best of the opportunities being created in this area of the province,” ... “The Lax Kw’alaams Band is poised to benefit for a very long time as a result of economic growth and industry development.”

Lax Kw'alaams Mayor John Helin, who was the host for the community event also picked up on the theme of the future for the community, noting his government's plans to continue to work with the province towards more initiatives.

“We are seeing a lot of positive developments now and in the future,” ...  “We look forward to working with the provincial government and others as our community continues to grow.”

In his remarks for the Premier and LNG Minister, Mayor Helin touched on the need for cooperation between the two governments moving forward, reviewing some of the themes from the visit on the day.

The exploration of partnerships, and taking advantage of such advantages as the Housing initiative announced made for some of his talking points, as well as some thoughts on how the Band Council continues to seek out more benefits from the relationship with the province.

You can hear a sample of some of his comments for the visitors from this audio file provided by the province.

Other than the remarks by Premier Clark, the focus on LNG for the most part was left to the Provincial Government's media release, which noted the prospect of investment and job opportunities that the Pacific NorthWest LNG project offers, noting that the residents of Lax Kw'alaams have voted in favour of continuing to pursue LNG development in their traditional territory.

That might make for some controversy in the community itself, with a number of those who are members of the Lax Kw'alaams Band still expressing their opposition to the project proposed for Lelu Island.

You can review our notes on the Pacific NorthWest project from our archive page here.

An expansive look at housing issues across the region is available from our Housing page here.

While items of interest on developments in Lax Kw'alaams can be reviewed here.

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