The Wabun Tribal Council Chiefs announced their support to partner with Hydro One to develop an important power line project in Northeastern Ontario. The Wabun Chiefs undertook a comparative analysis of prospective private sector partners, assisted by expert consultation. The clear decision is that Hydro One provides the best way forward in terms of ability to perform and deliver, and that Hydro One offers a fair and equitable 50-50 partnership and has a proven track record with equity partnerships.
“This is an opportunity we welcome, as Wabun Tribal Council and our member First Nations are well positioned to partner with Hydro One on this Transmission Infrastructure Partnership. We have been left out of the loop historically in terms of development on our traditional lands, so this partnership with Hydro One is one more example that there is reconciliation at work in real time. The Ontario government’s support to make this partnership project happen will go a long way to healing on the road to reconciliation,” explained Chief Chad Boissoneau of Mattagami First Nation.
The five Wabun communities make up a majority of the potential coalition of First Nation communities that are proximate to the proposed project. The developmental coalition includes the Wabun First Nations of Mattagami, Brunswick House, Matachewan, Flying Post and Chapleau Ojibwe.
The decision to partner with Hydro One came after an extensive review of the proponents’ proposals and included the independent review of consultants and financial experts. Partnering with Hydro One, an Ontario distribution and transmission company, will ensure that the Nations have access to the necessary financial backing and expertise required to complete the transmission line.
Wabun Tribal Council Executive Director Jason Batise explained that the partnership with Hydro One is important in terms of economic development and pointed out that Wabun Tribal Council is a leader in Indigenous success working with resource developers in striving towards self sufficiency.
“I am very proud of all the good work our Chiefs have done over the years in establishing Wabun Tribal Council and its First Nations as leaders in driving economic development. This work has resulted in many agreements and partnerships that honour our traditions and culture as well as protections on an environmental basis,” commented Batise. “With a 50 per cent equity stake in the line, these revenues will benefit our communities for generations to come.”
“With the assistance of our Wabun Tribal Council administration, we as Wabun Chiefs have reviewed all of the analysis in determining which partner best fits with this huge power line development opportunity and our choice is without a doubt Hydro One. We trust that the Ontario regulators will provide us with a decision to move this project ahead in a timely manner,” said Chief Murray Ray, Flying Post First Nation.
The proposed 230-kilovolt transmission line will span over 260 kilometres and connect the Wawa and Porcupine transmission stations, bringing important benefits to northeastern Ontario and the Indigenous communities in the region.
The Ontario Ministry of Energy is presently undertaking its own comparative analysis to select a transmission company to develop the new greenfield line.
Wabun Tribal Council (WTC) is a non-profit regional Chief’s Council that represents, advocates and provides services to six First Nations (Beaverhouse, Brunswick House, Chapleau Ojibwe, Flying Post, Matachewan and Mattagami.)