01 April 2010
The British Columbia Transmission Corporation (BCTC) is the provincial Crown corporation responsible for the planning, operation, and maintenance of BC's publicly owned electrical power transmission system and its interconnections with the North American grid. BCTC, in consultation with the Province, BC Hydro and industry, is studying the possibility of expanding the existing transmission system into the northwest region of BC to encourage economic development, improve reliability and allow for grid power to be extended to communities in the area. The entire project would add 335 kilometers of line to the existing provincial power grid.
The potential new transmission line, the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL), requires the construction of a 287kV (kilovolt) electricity transmission line parallel to an existing 138kV line which runs from the Skeena Substation (just south of Terrace) to Meziadin Junction. The new 287kV line would then be extended to a new substation at Bob Quinn Lake. For construction to take place, a 38 meter corridor would need to be cleared of trees and other obstacles.
On August 7th, 2009 the Gitxsan Treaty Society (GTS), in consultation with the Gitwangak Wilps (House groups) impacted by the proposed NTL (Dinimget, Wii Hlengwax and Lelt), signed a BC Capacity Funding Agreement for the Gitwangak Ska'an Laakxws Company (GSLC) to commence a Traditional Use Study (TUS) within the study area.
A TUS is a process to be undertaken by the First Nation to identify, record, and present information regarding current and traditional use of land and resources in the proximity of the proposed project (Northwest Tranmission Line or NTL route). The TUS will include types of land uses, frequency and seasonality and predicted changes due to the NTL. Once the study is completed, the Gitwangak Ska'an Laakxws Company (GSLC) will submit a formal report to BCH and this will be used in conjunction with other data to inform the Environmental Assessment process, the results of which will be submitted to the BCEAO (Environmental Assessment Office).