Inuvaliut Agrees to Access Agreement

Under Inuvialuit Regional Corporation rules, the Inuvialuit of the community closest to a development - in this case Inuvik - vote on ratifying such agreements.

The Inuvik Community Corporation has a little more than 1,000 members. At the Oct. 1 meeting, 120 people voted in favour of the deals and only seven were opposed.

"It was resounding support of the access and benefits agreements that were negotiated and for the project to proceed," said Duane Smith, chairperson of the Inuvik Community Corporation.

Smith said it was a major endorsement of the project by one of the aboriginal groups along the route.

"If we didn't vote in favour of it, it would be another hindrance to the project proceeding," he said.

The benefits of the agreements cover such things as education, training, employment, scholarships and contracting preference for Inuvialuit businesses in the Inuvialuit settlement region.

Smith said he couldn't get into specifics because the deals are "private agreements."

The multi-billion-dollar Mackenzie Gas Project, which will carry Beaufort Delta natural gas south on a pipeline, is awaiting regulatory approval after which proponents will make a final decision on proceeding.

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