Balancing social, environmental, and cultural values with opportunities for economic development in the Klappan valley forms the basis of a new plan between the British Columbia government and the Tahltan Central Government.
The plan encompasses more than 756,000 hectares of the Klappan in northwestern B.C. and outlines a land zoning proposal that defines acceptable uses within three defined areas. The proposed land zones are:
- Sacred Headwaters zone: No major industrial activity for a 20-year period in an area of approximately 286,000 hectares.
- Zone B: Approximately 49,000 hectares with high concentration of Tahltan values, as well as potential for economic development. It is expected that proposed economic development will take into account during project design all relevant cultural information collected in advance and consider ways to address, avoid, minimize, or mitigate potential impacts.
- Zone C: Approximately 400,000 hectares zoned to provide predictability for potential economic development, by conforming to regulatory processes, agreements between the Tahltan and the Province, and ensuring environmentally and culturally responsible development.
A Klappan Decision-Making and Management Board will be struck to implement and monitor the Klappan Plan, and make consensus recommendations to the Province and Tahltan. Its work will include developing a pilot decision-making and joint management model in the Sacred Headwaters zone, developing clear, predictable decision-making procedures for other zones, and developing an engagement plan for the public and stakeholders.
Engagement and consultation regarding the plan is ongoing with First Nations, stakeholders and interested members of the public. A four-month-long public feedback period on implementation of the plan will take place later this year.
The plan builds on the collaborative work of the B.C. and Tahltan Klappan Strategic Initiative. This project was a joint process of information collection, discussion and community outreach from 2013-15 to identify and address long-standing land use issues in the Klappan area.
In addition to the Klappan Plan, the B.C. government will continue work with the Tahltan Central Government, the Tahltan Guides and Outfitters Association, the BC Wildlife Federation and resident hunters to formalize a Stikine Wildlife Roundtable. The roundtable will discuss shared objectives around wildlife stewardship, ensure traditional values are respected, and how British Columbians would continue to enjoy the recreational opportunities in the Klappan area.
The relationship between B.C. and the Tahltan continues to support building a positive social and economic future for the Tahltan communities. In 2011, the Northwest Transmission Line Government-to-Government Framework Agreement outlined B.C.’s commitment to negotiate future agreements with Tahltan related to shared decision-making, economic opportunities, and planning for energy development. This paved the way for a shared decision-making agreement in 2013, which enabled B.C. and the Tahltan to collaborate on land and resource issues.
In 2013 and 2014, B.C. and Tahltan signed three clean energy agreements related to the Forest Kerr, McLymont Creek and Volcano Creek hydroelectric projects.
In 2015, the two parties also signed a mining related revenue-sharing agreement, which provides the Tahltan with a portion of the mineral tax revenue collected from the Red Chris Mine. This was followed in January 2017 by a bilateral agreement that establishes an engagement framework related to the ongoing construction, operation and closure of Red Chris.
Klappan Plan and other B.C. agreements with Tahltan: gov.bc.ca/tahltan
Tahltan Central Government: http://tahltan.org/