B.C. First Nation enters the pipeline services business

The Lower Nicola Indian Band near Merritt, B.C. has purchased a pipeline services company that provides maintenance support to Kinder Morgan and other energy sector clients.

The Band’s economic wing, Lower Nicola Site Services (LNSS), announced in August that it has bought 51 per cent of Ogilvie Mountain Holdings, based in Hope, B.C., in a joint venture with Vancouver partner Infracon.

Chief Aaron Sam Sumexheltza said the Lower Nicola Indian Band has a high unemployment rate and the jobs created by the purchase would bring revenue to the band.

Sumexheltza said the venture will create up to 40 jobs in peak season, and in quieter seasons could provide employment for up to 20 of the 1,250 band members.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to have our community members be able to work on the ground and be involved in taking care of and knowing what’s going on, on our traditional lands,” he told Shelley Joyce, host of CBC’s Daybreak Kamloops.

Kinder Morgan Canada’s director of emergency management, Jamie Kereliuk, tweeted in support of the move.

Some Nations oppose pipeline

In B.C. some First Nations have opposed the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation have led protests against Kinder Morgan, and the Squamish Nation has taken legal action to overturn the federal government’s decision to approve the expansion of the pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.

Recently, members of the Secwepemc Nation occupied a provincial park north of Kamloops in protest.

Pipelines ‘not going anywhere’​

Sumexheltza said the current pipeline already crosses his band’s traditional territory and so does the Spectra/Enbridge gas pipeline.

“They’ve been in the ground a long time and they are not going anywhere, so when it comes to these specific pipelines, I believe that it’s important the work should be done at a high-quality level, and we want to be involved in that.”

Infracon CEO Dennis Wilson said in a statement that in the future, the new owners of Ogilvie plan to expand the business to include new pipeline construction.

“We are already in negotiations with new clients and are starting to move further north into the province,” Wilson said.

With files from Daybreak Kamloops

Read more from CBC British Columbia

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