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Five Nations Energy throws support behind bid for transmission line

Proposal would further economic independence for First Nations, says electricity transmission company
2021-02-08 Five Nations Energy DB
Five Nations Energy Inc. is only Indigenous-owned electricity transmission company in Ontario and Canada. It owns and operates a 270-kilometre electrical transmission line from Moosonee to Attawapiskat.

With a proposed partnership that would enhance the economic independence of area First Nations, an electricity transmission company is throwing its support behind Wabun Tribal Council's bid for a transmission line. 

Five Nations Energy Inc. (FNEI) is the latest group to back Wabun's bid with Hydro One to the Ontario Ministry of Energy for the proposed Wawa-to-Porcupine Transmission Line.

“This new partnership expands the socioeconomic benefits of new transmission development beyond typical employment and contracting opportunities. Generating own-source revenues as owners is the only way to enhance economic independence and achieve self-reliance for First Nations in northeastern Ontario," said Pat Chilton, FNEI's CEO, in a news release.

Wabun Tribal Council has a 50-50 partnership with Ontario Hydro for its bid. Last week, the City of Timmins officially endorsed the plan.

The 260-kilometre transmission line would run from the Wawa Transfer Station south of the township to the Porcupine Transfer Station in the Timmins area.  A decision on who is awarded the project is expected this spring.

"Obviously there will be significant economic returns because of the equity partnership, but we also value the commitments that have been made for First Nation participation in project development. We know that the Wabun Nations will bring significant knowledge and guidance to the project partnership to help address potential impacts to the environment and other cultural heritage.

"FNEI sees great potential for Hydro One and its contractors to be exposed to and learn from the traditional teachings and inherent values of the Wabun member Nations," said Chilton.

Wabun Tribal Council represents six Treaty 9 First Nations in Northern Ontario, and five of them — Mattagami, Brunswick House, Matachewan, Flying Post, and Chapleau Ojibwe — are involved in the bid. The group is open to participation from other First Nations in the area of the proposed transmission line.

"The five Wabun Nations came together to pursue this partnership opportunity with Hydro One Networks because they share a common vision and values when it comes to sustainable economic development and building self-reliance," said Jason Batise, Wabun Tribal Council's executive director, in the statement.

"The Wabun Nations are willing to collaborate on this partnership opportunity with other potentially impacted First Nations who share their collective goals and values."

— TimminsToday