Published: October 19, 2016
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Area residents had their say last week as the groups responsible for the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project were in town gathering input.
On Oct. 13 representatives of Fortis-RES and Golder Associates Ltd were at the Cochenour Hall in an effort to gather public information on the proposed hydro corridor that will run north of Red Lake and will eventually connect Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, North Spirit Lake, McDowell Lake, Deer Lake and Keewaywin. A secondary corridor will connect another 10 First Nation communities north of Pickle Lake.
Fortis Ontario representative Juan Anderson said the impact to Red Lake is expected to be minimal.
“There shouldn’t necessarily be an impact to the citizens of Red Lake,” noted Anderson while addressing questions. “The project itself should be a benefit savings to taxpayers in general because right now all of these communities are powered by diesel that is either driven in or flown in. Essentially that is as expensive as power can be.”
Representatives did say they were seeking input on the proposed two kilometre corridor where the clearing for infrastructure will done. At the session visitors were asked to identify as many values as they could within the proposed route.
The Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project is a partnership between 22 First Nations who own 51 per cent of the project and RES Fortis Canada who owns the other minority share. Phase one of the project includes reinforcing the existing transmission system to Pickle Lake (approx. 300 km of 230 kV line).
The second phase is the $1.15 billion electrical grid connection that will span 1,500 km and involve 115 kV and 44 kV transmission line. The first communities are expected to be connected by 2021 with completion by 2023. Engineering and permitting has also been started for a 115 kV distribution line from Red Lake to Pikangikum with potential connection in 2018.