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For Immediate Release


Dec. 12, 2006

Office of the Premier

BC Hydro

Tsay Keh Dene Band      Kwadacha Nation




VICTORIA – The Province of British Columbia and BC Hydro have reached Agreements in Principle (AIP) with the Tsay Keh Dene Band and the Kwadacha Nation that will address the impacts of flooding from the Williston Reservoir on these First Nations in the Peace River Valley region, announced Premier Gordon Campbell today.


            “These agreements help to reconcile the hardship that the Tsay Keh Dene and Kwadacha endured after their communities and culturally important lands were flooded close to four decades ago,” said Campbell. “We have an obligation to create both social and economic opportunities for growth and sustainability for First Nations. To do that, we must first recognize the struggles the First Nations and their communities have faced.”


The Tsay Keh Dene and Kwadacha First Nations filed lawsuits against B.C. in 1999 and 2001 respectively, claiming damages from the impact of the construction and operation of BC Hydro’s WAC Bennett Dam and the Williston Reservoir. These impacts included the dislocation of community members, and lost hunting, trapping and fishing areas, as well as traditional gathering sites and burial grounds. The lawsuits were put in abeyance and the parties have since been involved in negotiations with BC Hydro and Province of British Columbia.


“This agreement will allow the Tsay Keh Dene community to move forward, despite the many challenges we have had to face in the last 40 years,” said Tsay Keh Dene Chief Johnny Pierre. “We look forward to a new relationship of mutual respect with BC Hydro and the Province.”


“We are pleased that our issues have been recognized and a fair settlement reached,” said Kwadacha Chief Donny Van Somer. “We can now begin to put some difficult times behind us and look to a more positive future.”


 “BC Hydro is committed to a productive and respectful future with First Nations across the province,” said BC Hydro president and CEO Bob Elton. “We hope that these agreements will set the stage for positive relationships with the Tsay Keh Dene and Kwadacha communities.”


The parties intend to move quickly to conclude final agreement negotiations based on the AIPs. Once fully implemented, the agreements will provide time limited payments of approximately $14 million to each First Nation and ongoing annual payments of approximately $1.9 million to the Tsay Keh Dene and $1.5 million to the Kwadacha with future adjustments for inflation. Further commitments include funding for health and heritage studies and contracting opportunities totalling approximately $11 million for both communities.  


The Tsay Keh Dene and Kwadacha communities must vote on the final agreements before the First Nations receive the full benefits. The litigation against the Province and BC Hydro respecting the creation of the Williston Reservoir and the hydroelectric generation facilities will be settled by the final agreements. The final agreements will also provide certainty for the future operation of BC Hydro’s facilities and the future relationship between BC Hydro and the First Nations.


“The people of Kwadacha, and most particularly the elders, have waited a long time for this day,” said Dave Porter, chair of the Kaska Dena Council, which represents the Kwadacha Nation in treaty negotiations. “This is a good agreement which will provide long-term benefits to the entire community and to BC Hydro and the Province.”




Copies of the agreements are available online at:





Mike Morton

Press Secretary

Office of the Premier

250 213-8218


Elisha Moreno

BC Hydro

604 623-4099



Colleen Wiebe

Tsay Keh Dene Band Manager

250 562-8882


Chief Donny Van Somer

Kwadacha Nation

250 563-4161


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