Wednesday, Oct 13, 2004
First Nations to get $15 million from BC Rail
WILLIAMS LAKE (BC Newspaper Group) - The government introduced legislation Wednesday that would establish a $15-million trust for First Nations from proceeds from the BC Rail deal.
The BC Rail Benefits Trust would support economic development, educational advancement, and cultural renewal, Transportation Minister Kevin Flacon said.
"Premier Campbell has always said that the billion-dollar BC Rail investment partnership will benefit all British Columbians," he said. "In keeping with this commitment, the provincial government wants to ensure that the First Nations who have been working with BC Rail share in the benefits."
A one-time transfer of $15 million will set up the trust, which will be managed by an independent board composed of one representative from each of the participating First Nations.
The funding may be used for providing seed capital for aboriginal enterprises and joint partnerships, protecting and promoting First Nations languages, and supporting aboriginal youth apprenticeship training.
"I have long supported the provincial government's decision to revitalize the provincial railway," Mcleod Lake Indian Band Chief, Harley Chingee, said in a release. "Now...the trust is going to help my band and others address our priorities to create job opportunities, maintain our culture, and take care of our youth."
First Nations may be eligible for other benefits from the $135-million Northern Development Initiative Trust introduced Wednesday.
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