Premier Christy Clark and the Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman visited the Lax Kw’alaams community today to tour developments in the area and discuss its future.
“The Lax Kw’alaams Band is creating new, long-term opportunities for their community,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This community has a bright future as new infrastructure developments move forward and the economic prospects of a liquefied natural gas industry advances”.
The day included a ceremonial arrival, a tour of the new Coast Tsimshian Academy, and details about funding support to the Lax Kw’alaams Band for new affordable housing projects in their territory.
The funding, part of the provincial government’s commitment to invest $575 million in affordable housing this fiscal year, provides the Lax Kw’alaams Band with $4.8 million to complete two new projects for their members: $2.1 million for eight units to house seniors, and $2.6 million for 10 units to house families. Construction is set to begin on both projects this year with occupancy available in 2018.
“We are seeing a lot of positive developments now and in the future,” said Mayor John Helin, Lax Kw’alaams Band. “We look forward to working with the provincial government and others as our community continues to grow.”
During the tour of the community, the Premier and minister had the opportunity to see the new Coast Tsimshian Academy which welcomed students for the first time last fall. Tailored for the needs of the community, the school plays an important role in supporting the Lax Kw’alaams’ focus on education and skills investment, specifically for youth.
The two-storey, 2,005-square-metre school has been designed to meet long-term growth and accommodation for additional students as members of the Lax Kw’alaams Band return to the area as a result of economic growth.
“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,” said Minister Rich Coleman. “The Lax Kw’alaams Band is poised to benefit for a very long time as a result of economic growth and industry development.”
In September 2016, the Province announced a $500-million investment which is the largest single-year housing investment by any province in Canada. When added to February 2016’s five-year, $355-million investment, the B.C. government has announced a total of $855 million for affordable housing in the past year.
The Pacific NorthWest LNG project is proposed on Lelu Island within the District of Port Edward. Pending a confirmed final investment decision, the facility would result in up to $36 billion in new capital spending, 4,500 new construction jobs and close to 350 permanent positions. The Lax Kw’alaams voted in favour of continuing to pursue LNG development in their traditional territory through a membership-wide vote last year.
- Since 2001, the Government of British Columbia has invested $4.9 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors, youth, adults with developmental disabilities, Aboriginal people and women and children.
- More than 104,000 B.C. households benefit from a diverse range of provincial housing programs and services.
- Since 2001, the Province has completed close to 24,000 new units of affordable housing.
- The Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band: http://laxkwalaams.ca/
- Details about British Columbia’s $516-million commitment toward 68 affordable housing projects across the province: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016PREM0145-002468
- More about LNG in British Columbia: www.LNGinBC.ca