Billion-dollar LNG deal with Lax Kw’alaams band goes south

Khutzeymateen Inlet in the Lax Kw’alaams territory

Plus, Richmond community leaders want English added to Chinese-only signs and Premier Christy Clark rejects a petition

Nope, no and nah
After much debate, a $1-billion natural gas deal near Prince Rupert has been rejected by First Nation Lax Kw’alaams. Members of the band voted against the proposal in a series of three meetings that highlighted strong advocacy against environmental change and a desire to sustain their current way of life. Premier Christy Clark remains hopeful that a negotiated agreement can still be reached between the band and Pacific NorthWest LNG, which presented the project—and $1 billion for consent—to Lax Kw’alaams. While the province could, in theory, override the band’s claim to the territory through Supreme Court precedent, energy lawyer David Austin advises against this approach: “From a legal perspective it would be very complicated to proceed with the LNG terminal without [First Nation] support,” Austin told CBC.

Chinese-only signs spark debate
The issue of Chinese-only signs in Richmond is back in the news. A group dubbed Signs of Harmony is asking business owners to add English to their signs voluntarily rather than through city legislation. The Signs of Harmony project would rather not go the route of Toronto suburb Richmond Hill, which implemented a bylaw requiring English to be displayed on at least 50 per cent of any sign. David Choi, president of Royal Pacific Realty Group and a spokesperson for the group, says Chinese-only signs could impact neighbourhood demographics in terms of who chooses to move in or stick around.

Premier rules out petition
B.C. Premier Christy Clark has ruled out a 17,000-plus signature petition seeking tax increases for foreigners buying homes in Vancouver. “By trying to move foreign buyers out of the market, housing prices overall will drop,” says Clark. While Clark points to restrictions on foreign buyers being a good thing for first-time home buyers, in the same breath, she also argues that there are other segments of our market that could be affected negatively by these types of changes