THUNDER BAY – At a signing ceremony Wednesday, the KO communities of Deer Lake, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake, North Spirit Lake, and Poplar Hill First Nation officially joined to become equal partners in the project.
“Our communities require a reliable power source to be able to participate in economic development opportunities taking place in the region,” says Executive Director, Peter Campbell. “We look forward to benefiting from this very important infrastructure project – now and into the future.”
Wataynikaneyap Power officially welcomed five (5) Keewaytinook Okimanak First Nations Council communities into the First Nation-led transmission initiative. Wataynikaneyap Power is developing a new transmission line north to connect remote First Nations communities currently serviced by diesel generation. With the addition of these communities, there are now eighteen (18) First Nations communities and local industry (Goldcorp) participating in the project.
“We are pleased to welcome the 5 KO communities, who joined our company today,” says Margaret Kenequanash, Board Chair of Wataynikaneyap Power. “Our communities see the merit of getting off diesel and having a reliable source of energy to enable community growth and to be able to participate in the economic opportunities throughout the region. We look forward to working with all of the communities.”
The Ontario Power Authority has determined the cost of diesel generation in remote communities is 3-10 times more than the average cost of power in Ontario. In addition, the use of diesel generation (rather than transmission) results in significant health, safety, environmental, social development, and economic impacts.
Wataynikaneyap Power, originally a partnership between 13 First Nations and Goldcorp, is a First Nation led company working to design, permit, construct, own and operate a transmission line to bring additional grid connection to Pickle Lake and beyond to connect remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario. The company’s vision is to provide reliable and accessible power for residents, businesses, and industry in the region and realize economic opportunities for First Nations. www.wataypower.ca.