THUNDER BAY – Hydro One has recently released the draft Environmental Assessment Report for the Waasigan Transmission Line project, inviting public review and comment. The report outlines a thorough engagement process that took place during the environmental assessment, explains the route selection process, identifies potential impacts to the natural and socio-economic environments, and reveals the measures Hydro One plans to adopt in order to prevent or lessen any negative effects of the project.
“Safety, environmental protection, and enabling economic benefits are our primary focus, while keeping people and communities at the heart of our operations,” said Sonny Karunakaran, Director, Project Delivery, Hydro One. “We are committed to continuous engagement with Indigenous communities, residents, directly impacted property owners, and businesses throughout the entire Waasigan Transmission Line project.”
The draft report is based on information gathered through an extensive field study program, which included visits to more than 1,200 sites and over four years of community engagement. The report concludes that the project’s benefits outweigh any potential impacts, which can be effectively managed using environmental protection measures. Among the benefits the Waasigan Transmission Line will provide are an additional 350 megawatts of clean electricity, increased reliability and resiliency of energy supply, economic growth, and an equity partnership for nine First Nations.
Chris Hodgson, President of the Ontario Mining Association, said, “Ontario’s competitive advantage in the global mining sector comes from our commitment to sustainability. The clean energy the Waasigan Transmission Line will deliver will enhance this advantage, ensuring mining benefits everyone for generations.”
During the public comment period, which lasts until July 7, 2023, Hydro One will host several open houses. In addition to publishing the report online, the company will also make copies of the report available at seven publicly accessible locations including municipal buildings, libraries, and community centres.
The proposed Waasigan Transmission Line involves a new double-circuit 230 kilovolt transmission line from Lakehead Transformer Station in the Municipality of Shuniah to Mackenzie TS in the Town of Atikokan, aiming for operation as close to the end of 2025 as possible. Additionally, a proposed new single-circuit 230 kilovolt transmission line from Mackenzie TS to Dryden TS in the City of Dryden is planned to be in operation shortly after. Hydro One intends to submit a Leave to Construct application to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) for both phases of the project this year. The new line will serve as the backbone of economic growth in northwestern Ontario and provide a reliable supply of clean energy to Indigenous communities, municipalities, residents, and businesses.
Nine First Nations in the region have signed agreements with Hydro One and will have the opportunity to invest in a 50 percent equity stake in the transmission line component of the project. The line’s completion is dependent on stakeholder consultation and regulatory approvals.
For more information, and to share comments on the draft report, visit HydroOne.com/Waasigan.