PIKANGIKUM — Sol Mamakwa, NDP MPP for Kiiwetinoong, was in Pikangikum today to celebrate the completion of a transmission line that will connect Pikangikum First Nation to the power grid.
Pikangikum — a community of 3,000 people — will no longer have to rely on an outdated diesel generation system, which simply could not keep up with electrical demand. This was made possible by the hard work of the community’s leadership and the Elder’s Council and with the vision and commitment of Wataynikaneyap Power.
“Without access to power, houses to accommodate a growing population could not be built, and water and sewage infrastructure did not exist,” said Mamakwa. “There will be no more brownouts, blackouts and people being forced to live in the dark.”
The excitement in the community is evident. “I’m going to celebrate by putting up Christmas lights around our house,” said resident Viola Pascal. “We haven’t done that in a long time.”
Wataynikaneyap Power is a First Nation-owned, First Nation-run corporation. Mamakwa said that he hopes this will be the first of many successes for Wataynikaneyap in connecting remote First Nations communities in the Far North to electricity.
“Turning on the lights in Pikangikum is a first step towards bringing a better quality of life to all residents in the community and, critically, to the Elders, and children and youth,” said Mamakwa.