Members of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) have voted to approve the Wuskwatim Project Development Agreement (PDA) with Manitoba Hydro, giving the green light for the US$1B, 200MW Wuskwatim generation project on the Burntwood river in the Nelson House Resource Management Area, Manitoba, Canada.
About 70% of eligible members turned out during the two days of voting on 7 and 14 June in Nelson House, Thompson, South Indian Lake, Leaf Rapids Winnipeg and Brandon, with about 62% voting in favour. The results exceeded ratification requirements that state that a majority of eligible members vote, and that the majority of votes cast are in favour.
‘With the knowledge and the wisdom of our elders and resource users, we have worked hard to negotiate the best deal possible and we are proud of our achievement,’ said Chief Jerry Primrose of NCN. ‘Ratification of the Wuskwatim Project Development Agreement is a triumph for our first nation…We trust opponents of the project to respect the will of the members.’
Manitoba Hydro President and CEO, Bob Brennan, added: ‘I’m very pleased with the outcome of the community’s vote and I’d like to personally congratulate everyone who has been involved with this process from both NCN and Manitoba Hydro. An enormous amount of care, hard work and diligence have brought us all to this important milestone in our industry.’
The historic signing of the PDA will take place on 26 June in Nelson House. Construction is projected to commence as soon as federal and provincial licenses and approvals are in place. The project will take six years to complete and will provide employment opportunities for qualified NCN members and revenues of about US$100M in direct-negotiated construction contracts for NCN businesses and joint-venture partnerships.
The low-impact, low-head Wuskwatim project is to be built on the Burntwood river at Taskinigahp Falls, approximately 45km southwest of Thompson and 40km southeast of Nelson House. The plant will require less than one-half square kilometre to be flooded, and will require development of transmission facilities to deliver power to the Manitoba Hydro system.
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