Fostering Self-Reliance and Community Pride
Lower Nicola Site Services (LNSS) was established in 2016 and is a partnership between Lower Nicola Indian Band (LNIB) and Infracon. The company has a number of mining and construction projects in the Thompson/Nicola Valley Region. LNSS was contracted for three years by Highland Valley Copper and most recently in late May 2019, signed an additional four-year contract with the mine. The crushing crew is 90% LNIB members. In 2018, the partners purchased Ogilvie Mountain Holdings (OMH) – a pipeline integrity company based in Hope. The acquisition represents the partnership’s largest collaboration.
For LNIB, the move was an exciting opportunity to both grow their economy and remain active participants in stewardship, especially since there are two major pipelines passing through LNIB traditional territory. LNIB bring their expert knowledge of the local environment to the partnership. They are the right partners for ensuring pipelines within their territory are well maintained, since they have traditional and first hand knowledge of the land that others do not. In turn, OMH brings a wealth of technical expertise on complex pipeline maintenance practices to the partnership.
Though the partnership is young, mutual benefits are already apparent. From Infracon’s perspective, hiring and training local staff allows the company to ensure continuity in the services they provide their clients. From LNIB’s perspective, building a skilled workforce means access to more and better job opportunities for their people. The skills LNIB members are gaining are enabling community members to take on a more active role on their lands. LNIB Chief, Aaron Sumexheltza, also views the partnership as both contributing greatly to the Nation’s own goal of self-reliance and fostering community pride.
The BC Achievement Foundation has recently acknowledged the success of LNSS with a BC Indigenous Business Award for Outstanding Business Achiever in the Business Partnership category.