Major Milestone Achieved in Collaboration with First Nations and Local Communities
THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Hydro One Inc. (Hydro One), in collaboration with nine First Nations partners, has reached a significant milestone in the Waasigan Transmission Line project. The company recently submitted the final Environmental Assessment Report to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. This submission marks a pivotal step in ensuring that the transmission line development aligns with the interests and feedback of local Indigenous communities, government agencies, local organizations, interest groups, and residents.
A Community-Focused Approach to Development
Hydro One’s Vice President of Strategic Projects and Partnerships, Sonny Karunakaran, expressed satisfaction with this progress, emphasizing the project’s development in partnership with local First Nations. He highlighted the economic benefits, job creation, and support for a clean energy future in northwest Ontario. The company has been actively engaging with community members, incorporating their input into the project’s design and planning stages, preparing for construction with community interests at the forefront.
Local Leadership’s Perspective
The Mayor of Atikokan, Rob Furgeson, acknowledged Hydro One’s efforts in working closely with communities, appreciating their responsiveness and commitment to mitigation measures. He looks forward to continuing collaboration as the project advances into the construction phase.
Environmental Assessment Report Insights
The report details the engagement process during route selection, potential impacts on natural and socio-economic environments, and strategies to minimize negative effects. Hydro One has committed to several key actions based on community feedback:
- Working with residents to enable them to stay in their homes.
- Avoiding herbicide use for vegetation management during construction and maintenance.
- Developing an Environmental Protection Plan and a Traditional Land and Resource Use Management Plan.
- Implementing monitoring programs, including an Indigenous Monitoring Program.
- Addressing trespassing and unauthorized access issues on the corridor.
- Mitigating visual effects and enhancing local wildlife habitats.
First Nations Partnerships and Project Phases
The Waasigan Transmission Line project is a collaboration with nine First Nations, including Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation and eight others in the Gwayakocchigewin Limited Partnership. The project comprises two phases: a double-circuit 230 kilovolt line from Lakehead Transformer Station to Mackenzie Transformer Stations, aiming for completion by the end of 2025, and a single-circuit line from Mackenzie Transformer Station to Dryden Transformer Stations, targeted for the end of 2027. These phases also involve station enhancements.
Regulatory Steps and Economic Impact
An application for the project’s construction was filed with the Ontario Energy Board on July 31, 2023, representing a $1.2 billion investment in the region. The project’s completion depends on continued consultations and regulatory approvals.
About Hydro One Limited
Hydro One Limited is Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution provider, serving approximately 1.5 million customers. With assets worth about $31.5 billion and annual revenues of approximately $7.8 billion in 2022, Hydro One plays a crucial role in supporting strong, successful communities. The company’s commitment extends to community investment, sustainability, and diversity initiatives, earning it the designation of a Sustainable Electricity Leader™ by Electricity Canada.
For more information on the Waasigan Transmission Line project, including the final report and supplemental materials, visit hydroone.com/waasigan.