Nak’azdli chief expresses concerns over misinformation

Concerns over misinformation on the Fas Gas purchase and pipeline deals.

Everything you read on Facebook is not true.

Even small town Fort St. James is not immune to the issues of social media spreading incorrect information like wildfire as misinformation is reportedly being put out in the community via Facebook, according to Nak’azdli Chief Fred Sam.

Sam said he is very concerned people are putting out the wrong information regarding some Nak’azdli Band chief and council decisions, leading to misunderstandings and frustration in the community.

Specifically, in regards to the Nak’azdli Band purchase of what was the Fas Gas service station and an agreement with a pipeline company.

The Nak’azdli Band has purchased the Fas Gas station on Stuart Drive, this much is true.

The price of the purchase, however, is being incorrectly reported via Facebook, leading to attacks on chief and council, said Sam.

The price being reported on Facebook is $400,000, and while Sam did not want to report the actual final figure for the purchase, he said $400,000 is far higher than what was in fact paid for the business.

Sam said the purchase was made under the recommendation of the Nak’azdli Development Corporation and they saw it as an opportunity to expand their businesses off of the reserve.

While still deciding how the gas station will look when it reopens, Sam and Leonard Thomas said they are looking at different options and renovations will be taking place.

The location will likely provide some form of food service, but it may not be a seated restaurant like what was in place.

Nak’azdli is still working on a business plan for the location.

“We need to think outside the box,” said Sam.

As for pipelines, a story being linked on Facebook contains a significant error in Sam’s opinion, confusing an agreement Nak’azdli signed with a company regarding a proposed natural gas pipeline with an oil pipeline.

The band signed on to become part of a First Nations limited partnership with Pacific Trails Pipeline of then PNG, now a project of Chevron/Apache. The pipeline would carry natural gas from Summit Lake to Kitimat, B.C..

The deal was reported in an article on West Coast Native News titled “B.C band councils that have sold out to Oil and Gas (sic)”.

While the story goes on to describe the deal as being in relation to one particular natural gas pipeline, the headline and the listing of the bans which have signed this deal, gives some people the wrong idea, given the nature of the Facebook comments it has resulted in.

For his part, Sam defends the signing of the deal, given the agreement was made regarding a natural gas pipeline, and never has Nak’azdli signed an agreement with a pipeline company in regards to oil or diluted bitumen.

The deal was finalized in order to receive a signing bonus by signing on early and 15 First Nations have signed on, but Sam said there is is still no guarantee the project will move forward.

Oddly enough, if the community is interested in pipeline information in regards to the band, very few have been coming out to information sessions the band has been holding through their pipeline office, said Sam.

Currently, the band is looking at pipelines being proposed by Spectra and PNG and if anyone does have questions, they are encouraged to contact Angel Ransom, the community planner at 996-7115.

“They shouldn’t believe things on Facebook,” said Sam. “People should go to the source.”