An Indigenous-led group seeking to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion said it will increase efforts in its bid to purchase the project.

Prior to the election, representatives with Project Reconciliation were in discussion with the federal government about a proposal which would see 51 percent of the publicly owned project become Indigenous owned.

“While it’s getting built, we’d like to purchase it, and we have the means to do that,” said Project Reconciliation Chair Delbert Wapass.

The proposal also creates a trust fund, where $250 million is invested annually for five years from the profits of the pipeline.

This money will be used to assist affected First Nations with projects in their communities.

The federal government announced late this summer that it was beginning an engagement process with Project Reconciliation to essentially flush out the proposal.

Wapass stated that his group wants to engage all communities affected, adding everyone’s voices should be heard, regardless of economic ability to participate.

“Majority ownership puts you in the driver’s seat, where you can dictate the types of policies and legislation that you want developed to protect the environment,” Wapass said.

Wapass is in a holding pattern, having reached out to the Sask. and Alberta governments.

Project Reconciliation would honour existing impact benefit agreements with First Nations along the route.

In 2018, the federal government purchased the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion for $4.5 billion.