THUNDER BAY, ONT. — Wataynikaneyap Power has announced the selection of PowerTel Utilities Contractors Ltd. as the contractor to build the 117-kilometre Pikangikum Power Line Project, which will connect Pikangikum First Nation to Ontario’s power grid in Red Lake, in northwestern Ontario.
The new power sources will replace the use of diesel fuel and permit better development of other services such as safe drinking water and sewers, said a Nov. 30 media statement. Over 80 per cent of existing homes in Pikangikum are without water and sewer service. The diesel generating station in the community has been operating at capacity since 2010.
The connection to the provincial power grid was supported by $60 million in federal funding.
Construction has already begun on the power line, which Wataynikaneyap expects to be completed in late 2018, noted the statement. With minor upgrades in the future, the power line will be used to connect other remote First Nation communities north of the community in the future.
“As project manager we are pleased for the Pikangikum First Nation community, as the project now enters into the construction phase. We look forward to working with PowerTel,” said Scott Hawkes, president and CEO of FortisOntario Inc. and Wataynikaneyap Power PM Inc., in the statement.
The Pikangikum Power Line Project is the first stage of the larger 1,800-kilometre Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project that will eventually connect 17 First Nations to the Ontario power grid. A 51-per-cent partnership of Wataynikaneyap Power is equally owned by 22 First Nation communities. Fortis owns the other 49 per cent.