Williams Lake Indian Band held a groundbreaking ceremony at the 150 Mile House Enbridge T-South Reliability and Expansion Project Monday, March 16.
“This project is happening in our territory and there is a big archaeological component associated with it as well,” said Chief Willie Sellars of the $125 million project.
“It is a pretty significant project for us, the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District.”
Seeing Enbridge partner with a First Nation is a ‘massive’ win, Sellars added.
“The heart and true meaning of reconciliation in UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People) is industry partnering up with First Nations communities on these major projects.”
In its description of the project, Enbridge noted the project involves replacing and decommissioning old compressor station units with more reliable and efficient units, as well as undertaking smaller upgrades and operational maintenance at various facilities along the gas transmission line which runs from south of Chetwynd to the Canada/U.S. border at Sumas.
As part of the T-South Reliability and Expansion Program, Enbridge is installing a new compressor unit that is quieter and more environmentally friendly than the existing unit being replaced.
Direct benefits from the project will include significant opportunities for people to go to work, as well as a number of local business that have partnered with WLIB in the past, Sellars said.
“Band members who have worked for these companies in the past will have more opportunities to make a good wage, stay home and work locally. But it doesn’t just end at the Williams Lake Indian Band. We only have so much capacity here. Those opportunities filter out to the City of Williams Lake, the Cariboo Regional District and other First Nations.”
The project will last over a year, he added.
“Our employment co-ordinator Shawna Philbrick is helping organize opportunities, not only for band members who are looking for positions but also individuals looking for contracting opportunities with the proponents,” Sellars said.