UBC Theses and Dissertations
Indigenous communities sustainable development framework for LNG developments in Northwest B.C. Stokes, Debra Mary
The extractives sector has the obligation to contribute to sustainable development in areas where resource exploitation occurs. Fulfilling this expectation is challenging in resource-dependent towns, that are periodically exposed to boom-bust dynamics. In northwest British Columbia, several large Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal projects have been proposed, involving high capital costs and several thousand workers for the construction phase. Indigenous Peoples are often negatively affected by such large developments, as their culture and sustenance is tied to the land and water. Many of these peoples are also unable to benefit from such developments, due to a lack of support mechanisms and the necessary training or education required for good paying jobs. This study investigates how large resource developments can contribute to sustainability in B.C. First Nations communities by finding ways to enhance benefits and minimize impacts from boom-bust dynamics. Two socio-economic surveys were conducted with the Kitsumkalum First Nation, which is one of the Tsimshian Tribes potentially affected by LNG developments. Additionally, 31 interviews were conducted with LNG, mining, government, economic development and First Nations representatives, from which common themes were identified and ranked. Results showed that although high school graduation rates (16% to 34%), university education rates (4.5% to 7.3%), and unemployment rates, (29.2% to 17.2%) have improved for on-reserve Kitsumkalum members between 2006 and 2016, many continue to struggle economically. Education, training and employment (ETE) was collectively ranked by all interviewed sectors as the most important for First Nations to move towards a sustainable future, while all sectors individually ranked ETE as No. 1, except for First Nations, who ranked the removal of social barriers as No. 1 and ETE as No. 2. The need for good governance to roadmap effective changes was ranked No. 2, while the need to remove social barriers was ranked No. 3 by all sectors. In light of these results, a new framework was proposed, which incorporates the need for community characterization, a strategic sustainable development plan, good governance, and improved shared decision making and partnerships, in order to better facilitate sustainable development of Indigenous communities within the context of large-scale resource developments.
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