BRITISH COLUMBIA

Land from park in Nisga'a territory could be removed for proposed B.C. pipeline

10/30/2014 03:06 EDT | Updated 12/30/2014 05:59 EST
VICTORIA - The B.C. government has introduced legislation that could allow for the removal of 63.5 hectares of land from a protected park if a proposed pipeline project in the Nisga'a Nation's territory goes ahead.

The province says the move comes after discussions with the band in northwestern B.C., where the two parties jointly manage the Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park.

Environment Minister Mary Polak says changing the park's boundaries would require consent from the band for a 900-kilometre pipeline proposed by Prince Rupert Gas Transmission.

The government also announced Thursday that the Nisga'a Nation would have authority over property tax of its own land if the two pieces of legislation are passed.

Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad has introduced a bill, which along with an agreement signed by both parties in July, would allow the Nisga'a to levy and collect tax from non-Nisga'a citizens, including companies that would install LNG pipelines.

In 1998, Nisga'a was the first band in B.C. to sign a modern treaty with the provincial and Canadian governments, giving it 1,930 square kilometres of land, self-government powers and $190 million in cash.