Hydro One announced it has reached a critical milestone in the Waasigan Transmission Line project which will bring much needed power to northwestern Ontario and enable economic growth to the area. The company announced it has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to Valard Construction LP.
“With their strong history of building electrical infrastructure projects in Ontario, we are confident that Valard is well positioned to design, build and deliver the Waasigan Transmission Line,” said Andrew Spencer, executive vice president, Capital Portfolio Delivery, Hydro One. “Aligned with Hydro One’s procurement policy for Indigenous sourcing, a large portion of the Waasigan transmission line will include the purchase of goods and services from qualified Indigenous businesses as subcontractors to Valard. This builds on our overall commitment to source five per cent of all of Hydro One’s purchases of materials and services from Indigenous businesses by 2026. Valard’s experience in Indigenous engagement will help us meet that goal.”
“As Ontario’s largest electric power infrastructure solutions provider, we are excited to be part of another project that will have a lasting and positive impact,” said Carey Kostyk, president, Valard. “Working closely with Indigenous communities, local businesses and Hydro One, we will further strengthen the local economy and build necessary infrastructure to benefit all of northwestern Ontario.”
Hydro One’s new industry-leading 50-50 equity partnership model will be applied to the Waasigan Transmission Line project, offering nine First Nations a 50 per cent equity stake in the transmission line component of the project including Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation (LDMLFN) and eight First Nation communities represented by Gwayakocchigewin LP (GLP). The GLP communities include Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, Eagle Lake First Nation, Lac La Croix First Nation, Fort William First Nation, Seine River First Nation, Lac Seul First Nation, Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, and the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen.
Throughout the duration of the project, Hydro One will work with its First Nation partners and Valard to establish shared project values and expectations. Hydro One and First Nation partners will monitor the construction progress working in collaboration with Valard. Hydro One is confident the commitments to the proximate and impacted Indigenous Communities will be realized.
“Gwayakocchigewin means ‘making decisions the right way.’ GLP’s goal is to achieve meaningful economic participation for its First Nations, while protecting the lands, waters, and cultural values potentially impacted by the Waasigan Transmission Line Project,” said Tom Johnson, President of Gwayakocchigewin LP. “GLP will ensure that Valard adheres to the protocols and requirements of the eight GLP partner First Nations and fulfils their commitments for Indigenous participation in delivering the project.”
“The Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation would like to extend congratulations to Valard for the successful execution of their EPC bid for the proposed Waasigan Transmission Line project,” said Chief Whitecloud, Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation. “We would also like to congratulate Hydro One in completing this milestone achievement. Our First Nation welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with both Valard and Hydro One on the Waasigan Transmission Line project.”
Hydro One is currently undertaking an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. The review helps to identify a final route for the transmission line, predict and assess potential effects, and identify measures to minimize and eliminate potential negative impacts on the environment. This year, Hydro One plans to submit a Leave to Construct (Section 92) application to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
The Waasigan Transmission Line is a proposed new double-circuit 230 kilovolt transmission line between Lakehead Transformer Station (TS) in the Municipality of Shuniah and Mackenzie TS in the Town of Atikokan, and a proposed new single-circuit 230 kilovolt transmission line between Mackenzie TS and Dryden TS in the City of Dryden.
Featured image: (Hydro One)