Atlantic Power and the Williams Lake Indian Band singed a Community Benefits Agreement Thursday morning.
Director of Asset Management, Brian Chatlosh says the agreement lays out a process for Atlantic Power to continue work cooperatively with the Band.
“That process is very important to us because it’s a cooperative process and we’re looking forward to working with the Band, potential opportunities to work together in the future on the project as we renew the power contract and continue to operate in Williams Lake.”
Williams Lake Indian Band Councillor Rick Gilbert says it shows that the Band is determined to work with industry for the benefit of their people and surrounding areas.
“This will benefit our Band directly in that there’s going to be some dollars flowing to the Band that we can use for our education and a lot of the different things that doesn’t come from the federal government anymore.”
The agreement celebrates the culmination of work between the two parties, recognizes and respects the aboriginal rights, title, and interests asserted by the Williams Lake Indian Band who’s traditional territory covers a large area including the City of Williams Lake.
The Williams Lake Power Plant which is owned and operated by Atlantic Power is currently in the process of submitting a consultation package and technical assessment for an increased permit to burn 800,000 rail ties annually.
“Stewardship is always part of our culture-our culture is to take care of the land and the land will take care of us and this is part of the stewardship,” says Gilbert.
“We work with Atlantic Power to make sure that all the questions are answered because there are a lot of questions still coming from the people in Williams Lake. If we are working with them and are part of the process then we can answer those questions also.”
Atlantic Power Environmental Manager Terry Shannon says they are anticipating to have word on the decision of the permit from the Ministry of Environment by April.