Q&As

As Kitselas Chief and Band Council host community meetings and events, and continue to engage with proponents, there will be many questions from the community about proposed major projects. We will post those questions, with answers, on this page.

Answers to some of the questions from the August 15-16 community meeting 'Kitselas & Major Projects – Part 1: the BIG Picture'. are below. And more are coming. 

If you have a questions of your own related to major projects, please feel free to submit it in the comments box below the Q&As.

Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is a colourless and odourless gas that is transported from a gas supply through a pipeline that for the majority of the route is buried underground or rests on the ocean floor. The pipeline connects the gas supply in Northeast British Columbia to a gas facility which are proposed to be built in Prince Rupert or Kitimat. The facilities convert the gas to a liquid by cooling the gas to -160°C. It is then pumped onto ships and transported to Asia for refinement.

Oil is a liquid produced by the breakdown of organic matter over very long periods of time. The method of transport is very similar to that used for LNG, except oil does not need to be cooled. Rather, it is pumped directly onto tankers that transport the oil to refineries to convert it to products such as gasoline.

Kitselas Band Council requested proponents use a single right-of-way to traverse Kitselas Traditional Territory, however, proponents eventually did not opt to use one right-of-way. The proponents use different consultants to plan their pipeline routes, which resulted in a number of routes, with a variety of alternatives. During the course of the Environmental Assessment process several of the alternatives have been cancelled, either due to objections by First Nations, the public, or Government, or the proponent no longer favoured that route. Both pipelines going to Prince Rupert do not enter Kitselas Traditional Territory, and follow approximately the same route through Kitselas Traditional Marine Use areas on the North coast. There are four pipelines that go through Kitselas Traditional Territory to Kitimat. Two of these follow the same route, albeit with slight differences as one is a proposed oil line and the other an LNG. They require different construction methods to transport the product. A third pipeline twins an existing line for the majority of the existing route, and a fourth affects 10 kilometres of Kitselas Traditional Territory and if built has the potential to increase cumulative effects of having multiple pipelines traversing the same area of land.

Typically the proponent drafts the survey questions and sends them to Kitselas Lands and Resources staff, who review the questions and then provide edits and other feedback to the proponents. In the future we hope to form an ethics committee and have the questions reviewed according to OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession) Principles which means Kitselas First Nation would own, protect, and control how data collected from members is used. 

Kitselas Department of Lands and Resources reviews the majority of the requests to meet and interview band members. If not Lands and Resources, then proponents have been asked to contact Kitselas Band Administration. Proponents should not be contacting band members directly and we ask if anyone is contacted directly to let Kitselas Band Administration or Lands and Resources know immediately. Any meetings approved by Band Council will be posted in the Gitselasu Weekly.

The land used for any of these projects will remain within Kitselas Traditional Territory, it will not be sold to the proponents. Much the same as the existing Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) project that currently traverses Kitselas Traditional Territory does not belong to PNG.

The land will be accessible to Kitselas people, although areas under construction will have specific safety rules set by WorkSafeBC that must be adhered to. Some of these rules will restrict people from accessing the land who do not have certain training or are not in possession of required items of clothing (steel-toe boots, high-vis vests, hard hats, gloves, and safety glasses). Construction should be restricted to the right-of-way of the project, generally a narrow piece of land up to 100 m wide. If access is required beyond the construction area then people may have to request to travel through the area. This is to protect workers and Kitselas people from the dangers on construction sites.

While some safety restrictions may be put in place during construction, Kitselas people should be able to continue using the land before and after construction. Typically, construction will occur in stages where areas of land may be under construction at certain times of the year. It is unlikely the entire length of the pipelines will be under construction at one single point in time. Therefore, Kitselas people will have access to these areas while construction is not taking place.

Each company working on the projects is subject to safety rules set out by WorkSafeBC. Compliance with WorkSafeBC is legislated under the Worker’s Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. WorkSafeBC may levy large fines for any company found to be non-compliant.

Environmental standards are maintained under the Environmental Management Act. Each proponent will have a construction environmental management plan that will outline mitigation strategies for activities completed during the course of the project. Compliance with these plans is maintained by Environmental Monitors who work with the proponent. An independent auditor completes site inspections to monitor environmental protection and compliance with the environmental management plan.

As each of the facilities and pipelines are located in different areas separate studies are being written for each project. Given that some projects are located in Kitimat and some in Prince Rupert there is some overlap between projects. Typically, the impacts by the projects will be very similar, but by writing a separate study for each project it enables Kitselas Lands and Resources to identify specific impacts of each project. The proponents then have to include mitigation strategies to address each of the identified concerns, which are included in the Environmental Assessment application. Kitselas Lands and Resources staff have the opportunity to review each application to double-check mitigation strategies. Depending on the location project, reviews are provided to either Provincial or Federal governments, or both, after which further work may be outlined for the proponent to undertake.

During the environmental assessment process Kitselas Lands and Resources sends workers experienced in natural resource management into the field to participate in projects. People interested in taking part in field studies can submit a resume to Kitselas Department of Lands Resources.

Other than field studies Kitselas Lands and Reosurces is also conducting traditional use studies including traditional ecological knowledge and traditional land use. We are in the process of interviewing Kitselas people to gather information for these studies. If you or someone you know feels as though they should be interviewed and have not been as yet please let Kitselas Lands and Resources know.

Kitselas Band Administration and Lands and Resources have created a flow chart for proponents to follow when engaging Kitselas First Nation. Proponents are notified by the Province to engage with First Nations that have the potential to be impacted by project activities. This notification is mandated under British Columbia’s Environmental Management Act, Section 11. The proponent then contacts Chief and Council, and Kitselas’ Chief Executive Officer sets up an initial meeting with Chief and Council, the CEO, each department (including Treaty), Kitselas Development Corporation,  and Kitselas’ Employment Councillor. The initial meeting enables the proponent to present their project and to start discussions over the different agreements that are negotiated throughout the Environmental Assessment Process [(Letter of Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)] and beyond (Impact Management and Benefit Agreements).

Kitselas Lands and Resources then works with the negotiation team (Chris Knight and John Balogh) to secure funding under the Letter of Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding. Kitselas Lands and Resources works with two of other groups of consultants, one group who are completing traditional use studies and another who is working on identifying socio-economic (community health) issues. They also work closely with the proponents during the Environmental Assessment process to complete field studies. Staff and consultants are also engaged with proponents in working group meetings to bring specific concerns directly to the proponents and through these meetings Kitselas has been a strong advocate for socio-economic impacts. As a result the provincial Government has been working on a plan to mitigate socio-economic impacts which when implemented will make sure these concerns are fully addressed by proponents.

The MOU funding also enables Kitselas First Nation to read and comment on descriptions of each project proposed on Kitselas Traditional Territory, it provides funding to review applications under the environmental assessment process. Any subjects staff are not familiar with have been tackled by consultants who are considered experts. Lands and Resources also continues to encourage proponents to hold community meetings to ensure Kitselas people stay informed of project activities. We hope this approach will give Kitselas a strong voice when addressing concerns.

Chief and Council have a role to sign off on the MOU’s which provide funding to enable Lands and Resources to work with proponents. Chief Joe Bevan is also working on the Impact Management and Benefit Agreements team. Through community meetings with Kitselas people this team hopes to negotiate money over the long-term that could support community projects. The negotiation team are also leading other First Nations in talking about the potential cumulative effects which may occur where several projects have proposed to work in close proximity to one another.

Currently there are 14 major project proponents looking to work with Kitselas First Nation and on our Traditional Territory. They are in different stages of the environmental assessment process, some are at the very beginning, some in the middle, and some have passed through the process. Kitselas Lands and Resources has negotiated MOU’s with most of the projects, which provides money that enables Kitselas Lands and Resources to hold community meetings, complete field studies, employ consultants, and meet with proponents. Lands and resources is in the process of assisting proponents with field studies, providing input to working group meetings, conducting our own field studies, and continue to meet one-on-one with proponents. Kitselas has concluded and agreed to only one Impact Management and Benefit Agreement so far (Pacific Trails Pipeline), most other projects are starting work or are within the environmental assessment process. During the environmental assessment process proponents are still completing work to determine if their project will go ahead.

As long as Kitselas remains engaged with proponents through working group meetings, field studies (completed by proponents or by Kitselas themselves), and one-on-one meetings with proponents and the Environmental Assessment Office the bad impacts have a better chance of being mitigated. Once a project is under construction, Kitselas Lands and Resources have a mandate to provide environmental stewardship which will focus on mitigation of impacts. Environmental monitors will be employed on the projects and regular communication with proponents will be completed to determine ongoing project activities.

Kitselas has been advocating for the provincial Government to address impacts from LNG development. As part of this the provincial Government has been working on a plan to mitigate socio-economic impacts which when implemented will make sure these concerns are fully addressed by proponents. First Nations are also participating in working group meetings which are designed to address concerns First Nations have and can then be directly addressed. Every First Nation affected by projects has the chance to bring concerns forward to the Environmental Assessment Office and the proponents, and to make sure these concerns are addressed in the environmental assessment application during the review process.

Kitselas Lands and Resources have agreed to undertake a couple of studies to properly inform decision making in regards to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. So far this project has progressed through the Environmental Assessment process, Canada’s Federal government has imposed 209 conditions and the Provincial government has imposed 5 conditions, all of which must be met if the project is to go ahead. Northern Gateway is working with Kitselas Band Administration so that Kitselas Lands and Resources can take part in field studies, and ultimately guide the community and Chief and Council to make informed decisions. 

PNG Looping identified areas of unstable ground and areas with high fisheries values in the Telkwa region. The proposed line now enters Kitselas Traditional Territory diverges from the existing route at Telkwa to avoid placing the pipeline within areas that may become a concern later in the project.

As long as Kitselas remains engaged with proponents through working group meetings, field studies (completed by proponents or by Kitselas themselves), and one-on-one meetings with proponents and the Environmental Assessment Office the bad impacts have a better chance of being mitigated.

Once a project is under construction, Kitselas Lands and Resources have a mandate to provide environmental stewardship, which will focus on mitigation of impacts. Environmental monitors will be employed on the projects and regular communication with proponents will be completed to determine ongoing project activities.

As long as Kitselas remains engaged with proponents through working group meetings, field studies (completed by proponents or by Kitselas themselves), and one-on-one meetings with proponents and the Environmental Assessment Office the bad impacts have a better chance of being mitigated.

Once a project is under construction, Kitselas Lands and Resources have a mandate to provide environmental stewardship, which will focus on mitigation of impacts. Environmental monitors will be employed on the projects and regular communication with proponents will be completed to determine ongoing project activities.

Lands and Resources has asked this question of several proponents and has been informed that the majority of pipeline proponents run emergency response centres that monitor the pipelines. These centres typically feature an alarm system that warns proponents of abnormalities in the pipe.

In general, pipelines are fitted with automatic shut-off valves which can stop the flow of the product in the pipe or the entire system can be shut off from the emergency response centre. From there proponents send out emergency response teams who are experts in spill clean up to contain any product that leaks from the pipe. Then engineers will assess the pipe and perform repairs. Impacts are hoped to be minor given the technology now used in monitoring pipelines. 

At this time, no oil pipes are planned to run underwater on Kitselas Traditional Territory or in our marine harvest areas.

Kitselas is doing everything it can to protect the river, and fishing and hunting grounds.

Money provided under the MOUs is being used to pay for traditional use studies, including traditional land use and traditional ecological knowledge. Part of these studies will highlight areas of concern that will be discussed at a high level between Kitselas First Nation and the proponents.

Similarly, field studies are performed by the proponents in consultation with Kitselas field workers. These studies include, but are not limited to, aquatics, terrestrial ecosystems, tailed frog, ungulates (moose and deer), terrain stability, and air and noise pollution.

Reports from these studies are provided to Kitselas Lands and Resources or our consultants for review. Concerns from these studies can be addressed during working group meetings, or in one-on-one meetings with consultants.

The proponents understand this area of British Columbia is prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters. Pipelines are constructed of steel, which can flex if the ground moves.

Pipes are buried in the ground or on the ocean floor, which should negate risks from other natural disasters such as wildfire or tsunami respectively.

In other areas, landslides pose a threat to pipeline stability. However, proponents complete studies to assess terrain stability, whereby engineers assess the pipeline route to determine the stability of side slopes and the chance for failure. Historic aerial photographs may be consulted to determine the presence of previous slides on the pipeline route. In some cases the proponents also work closely with engineers and other consultants to complete modelling of terrain. 

Kitselas is restricted to reviewing projects that fall within its own traditional territory. That said, Kitselas itself is aware that LNG and oil are only two of a variety of development proposed in the area. As such, we continue to provide feedback to regulators on any major project that has the potential to directly or indirectly affect the territory and its watershed.

Lands and Resources has a Referrals Coordinator who considers impacts from all other projects including cumulative effects on Kitselas Traditional Territory from all the proposed projects. Through this process we have the ability to apply conditions on projects or provide recommendations against an agency issuing a permit.

In order to minimize environmental and safety risks the majority of pipeline proponents run emergency response centres that monitor the pipelines. These centres typically feature an alarm system that warns proponents of abnormalities in the pipe. In general, pipelines are fitted with automatic shut-off valves which can stop the flow of the product in the pipe or the entire system can be shut off from the emergency response centre.

Furthermore, some proponents will regularly fly the pipelines and perform ground reconnaissance surveys to identify issues along the pipeline route. These issues are then addressed by trained professionals.

Typically, projects are conducted over very large areas and a desktop assessment is performed, following which, field work is completed in areas with potential concerns. Given these desktop assessments are performed over large areas they have the potential to miss items.

If field workers begin construction after a study is complete and find culturally modified trees or historical artifacts, they cannot continue working. This is a ‘chance find’ and must be reported to the proponent, then to government agencies, and to Kitselas First Nation.

Depending on the type of chance find, representatives from Kitselas First Nation, the proponents, and government will need to visit the site to determine the importance of the artifacts. After proper consideration, including further field studies, permit applications, etc., the proponent may continue or may have to take into consideration and protect the resources included in the chance find.

Each LNG project is expected to bring thousands of jobs during the construction phase and hundreds of permanent jobs during the operational phase. Companies will be seeking to hire local, qualified candidates, where possible. They will also be looking to promote opportunities for qualified local suppliers and contractors. These jobs could be anywhere from senior positions to trades positions to labourer positions.

Examples of senior positions:
Senior Business Developers, Senior Development Engineers, Environmental Specialists, Health & Safety Advisors, Geologists, Seismologists, Archeologists, Project Managers, Site Managers, Construction Managers, Designers, Project Accountants, Mechanical/Electrical/Structural Engineers, Cost Estimators, Project Administrators, Procurement Specialists, Buyers, etc.

Examples of trades positions:
Power Engineering, Plumbers, Scaffolders, Electricians, Welders, Pipe Fitters, Iron Workers, Gas Fitters, Insulators, Mill Wright, Heavy Equipment Operators, etc.

Examples of labourer positions :
Forklift Operators, Various Truck Drivers, First Aid Attendants, Security Guards, etc.

Usually field workers require Grade 12 education to go out with the proponents. Other qualifications can also be useful: first aid, WHMIS, bear aware, full driving license, electrofishing, etc.

Kitselas Lands and Resources prefers to employ people as field technicians with experience in natural resource management. In that way, experienced people can help the proponents and become an asset to the field programs they take part in.

Senior positions working with the proponents themselves could require Engineering, Business, Finance, Sciences, or Environmental Studies undergraduate degrees plus 3 – 10 or more years of experience.

Trades positions will require journeyman tickets, a high school diploma and a valid driver’s license.

Labourer positions could require a high school diploma, a valid class 5 driver’s license plus all required safety tickets.

Through the Kitselas Post-Secondary Education Program, educational opportunities are available to Kitselas members who have met the Kitselas Post-Secondary Education requirements.

Training opportunities are also available to any registered Kitselas Band member, living on or off reserve, and to the spouse or common-law spouse of a registered Kitselas Band member. Kitselas Employment & Training Program will fund programs that are 8 weeks or less in duration.

For the Kitselas Post-Secondary Education Program, contact Debbie Moore at (250) 635-5084 ext. 231.

For the Kitselas Employment & Training Program, contact Judy Gerow at (250) 635-5084 ext. 229.

Applications can be given to:

  • Judy Gerow, Kitselas Employment Counsellor
  • Edison Bolton, Kitselas Development Corporation
  • Terry Collins, Kitselas Forest Products
  • Kitselas Department of Lands and Resources
  • Proponent (company itself)

In our discussions with proponents, Kitselas leadership, negotiators and staff are continually including the need and desire to train and encourage Kitselas members to seek higher level positions. We are requesting mentoring and job shadowing opportunities along with on-the-job training opportunities for those members who show an interest.

Money is being provided by proponents under Memorandums of Understanding, which help pay for Kitselas Lands and Resources, Band Administration, and Chief and Council to engage and participate in the environmental assessment process.

The money provided pays for community meetings with each proponent to ensure community stays informed of their progress. This money also pays for staffing, consultants, legal costs, and field studies.

Money will also be coming in through Impact Management and Benefit Agreements (IMBAs). This money is considered Own Source Revenue (OSR), which is generally looked at, planned for and expended separately from other funding.

To date, Kitselas Band Council has set these monies aside and have only used them for the purposes of workforce and business development initiatives. A considerable amount of the OSR to date remains in a savings account and will be considered funding for future community capital. OSR is disclosed in the Annual Audited Financial Statements for the Nation.

As more is expected, Kitselas Band Council is committed to establishing a Reserve Fund (restricted) and a Reserve Fund Policy, which will outline the specific uses for such moneys. Council will work with the community to identify and prioritize uses for these funds. 

Kitselas chief and council want to inform our community members about development proposed in our traditional territory. We also want to collect your input and thoughts on these projects.

We hope to host engagement activities varying from large and small community meetings, to conducting surveys, to face-to-face conversations.  All of these activities will be announced in the Gitselasu weekly and posted in the ‘Major Projects’ section of the Kitselas website.

Anyone who wishes, can also request materials to be sent to them by mail and/or by email. If you would like to receive materials in this way, please contact the Kitselas Department of Lands and Resources at 778.635.3417 or email landsreception@kitselas.com.

At any time, members can also contact the Kitselas Department of Lands and Resources with any questions, concerns or comments.

Or go to the new ‘Major Projects’ section of the website to submit questions, and find more information. 

All questions raised at meetings, as well as those asked by members in our surveys, have been recorded and are being answered.

These questions and answers will be distributed in the Gitselasu Weekly and posted in the new ‘Major Projects’ section of the Kitselas website. We will also address and answer some of these questions at future community meetings, and possibly coffee houses and home visits. 

Chief and Council want this process to be as inclusive as possible. We are making information and participation in this community engagement process available to off-reserve and out of town band members in a number of ways.

We are posting all upcoming events in the new ‘Major Projects’ section on the Kitselas website: upcoming events, questions and answers, meeting materials such as PowerPoint presentations and handouts, and project updates.

We are making videos of community meetings and presentations and posting these on the website for members who are not able to attend.

All surveys conducted as part of this engagement process are available online so members can participate no matter where they live.

Finally, we hope to send meeting materials by mail and/or by email to all members who wish to receive it. If you would like to receive these materials, please contact the Kitselas Department of Lands and Resources at 778.635.3417 or email landsreception@kitselas.com.

Kitselas Chief, Council and staff are doing their best to summarize relevant information and provide it to Kitselas community members in ways that are easy to understand and digest. Examples include creating information materials such as the ‘Major Projects in Kitselas Traditional Territory’ booklet; creating a ‘Major Projects’ section on the Kitselas website and updating the section regularly; updates in the Gitselasu Weekly; and hosting community meetings and smaller meetings such as coffee houses and possibly home visits.

At any time, members can also contact the Kitselas Department of Lands and Resources with any questions, concerns or comments. Call 778.635.3417 or email landsreception@kitselas.com.

Kitselas Band Council is committed to protecting the social, environmental, economic, and cultural values within our Traditional Territory.  We are also committed to understanding how the Kitselas people want to approach the development happening in the area, and consider that approach when making decision related to major projects.

Attend as many proponent community meetings as possible. Attend as many of Kitselas’ community engagement events. Ask questions. Write down your comments and questions at meetings. Fill out our surveys. Talk to your Chief and Council members. Contact the Kitselas Department of Lands and Resources with any questions, concerns or comments. Call 778.635.3417 or email landsreception@kitselas.com.

We will be recording all the input we receive  – at meetings, through surveys, through phone calls, emails and any other method.

Your answers and input will help guide policies and decision making around major projects and allow the Kitselas Band Council and administration promote our interests and positions to companies.

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