Ontario Construction News staff writer
Hydro One is offering First Nations a chance to invest in a 50 per cent equity stake in new capital transmission line projects worth more than $100 million.
The power utility announced the new plan following the signing of an agreement in the spring with eight First Nations represented by Gwayakocchigewin Limited Partnership for the Waasigan Transmission Line project.
It says, in total, nine First Nations will have the opportunity to invest in 50 per cent of the Waasigan project in northwestern Ontario.
“Gwayakocchigewin’s partnership agreement with Hydro One on the Waasigan Transmission Project provides a tremendous opportunity for our First Nations in northwestern Ontario and demonstrates the right approach to Indigenous Participation,” said Tom Johnson, president of Gwayakocchigewin Limited Partnership
“In addition to the economic benefits of ownership, our eight First Nations can work closely with Hydro One to ensure responsible development of this Project, including the protection of the land, waters and our traditional way of life. We commend Hydro One for its progressive vision towards a new relationship with First Nations.”
Hydro One says the new investment model will also apply to the five transmission lines it is developing in southwest Ontario.
The company also committed to increasing its Indigenous procurement spend to five per cent of all materials and services by 2026 and ensuring that 20 per cent of its corporate donations and sponsorships support Indigenous communities.
“Hydro One’s new equity partnership model is a significant milestone in the journey of Reconciliation and rebuilding economic prosperity for the Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation,” said Chief Whitecloud, Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation
“Our Nation is committed to working collaboratively with Hydro One, and other partners, to develop sustainable energy projects that balance our First Nation’s economic, environmental, and social values. We congratulate everyone who has worked on this new model which offers significant benefits to the First Nations in the form of shared decision-making with respect for our cultural protocols and traditional lands.”
Hydro One is Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution provider.