The Seabird Island community is one of three Lower Mainland Indigenous communities to receive provincial support on a clean-energy project.
The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF) aids in environmentally friendly energy operations in Indigenous communities across the province, using a variety of sources, including wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power and energy efficiency planning with the goal of increasing Indigenous participation in clean energy initiatives.
Seabird Island’s Sqéwqel Development Corporation received $50,000 for a feasibility study to assess their ability to become both a renewable natural gas supplier and to build a renewable natural gas plant in collaboration with FortisBC.
Sqéwquel president Tyrone McNeil said the funding is a win for Seabird Island, the province and the climate.
“The opportunity to access the First Nation Clean Energy Business Fund to further our interests in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in support of Seabird’s green initiatives responding to climate change, while also creating an economic opportunity is win, win, win for Seabird, the province and for the climate,” he said in a statement.
“People are concerned about climate change and know that we need to reduce emissions and shift to clean energy alternatives,” said Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon. “I appreciate the work that the Xa’xtsa First Nation and Sqéwqel Development Corporation are doing to further the use of renewable energy and build a cleaner province for everyone.”
Since the beginning of FNCEBF, more than 130 Indigenous communities in B.C. received $18 million in funding; nearly $4 million was given to 27 Indigenous communities in 2021 alone.
Since 2014, the Sqéwqel Development Corporation has been a driving force behind economic development and independence for the Seabird Island community.