Jennifer attended the 2014
Pollution Probe Gala to witness Chief Denise Restoule of the Dokis First
Nation accept Pollution Probe's 2014 Sustainability Award
in connection with the Okikendawt Project—a 10 MW hydroelectric
facility being developed by the Dokis First Nation with Hydromega Services
Inc. New water power projects are not always green, and
are meeting stiff environmental, aboriginal and community
opposition in many parts of Ontario. Good to know that some are
being done right.
The project is being developed at the site of the Portage Dam in
French River, Ontario which is 80 km southeast of Sudbury and 45 km
southwest of North Bay. It has been reported to be an economic development goal
for the Dokis First Nation for the past 25 years. The name
"Okikendawt" means "pots in the rocks in the
river" in Ojibwa.
The project was granted a Priority Permit under the federal Dominion Water Power Act in 2009 to develop the
water rights at the existing Portage Dam located on the French
River at the outlet of Lake Nipissing. According to Chief Restoule,
the purpose of the project is to tap into the outflow of the
already existing public works dam. The project was granted a FIT contract in April 2010 under Ontario's
Green Energy and Economy Act, 2009
(GEAA). Under the GEEA, the objective of the FIT
Program is to facilitate the development of renewable
generating facilities of varying sizes, technologies and
configurations via a standardized, open and fair process. The
generating station is located on federal lands where Public Works
and Government Services Canada operate control structures that
regulate the levels and flow of Lake Nipissing and the
French/Little French Rivers.
Since 2011, the Pollution Probe Sustainability Award has been
acknowledging "extraordinary achievement by individuals or
organizations working toward positive, tangible environmental
change". The Okikendawt Project is being celebrated as a
model of sustainable development, community building and
environmental and cultural stewardship. During the project's
development, major efforts were made to improve walleye fishery
habitat, protection of breeding sites for the Blanding Turtle, and
the preservation of ancient archaeological pictographs and other
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne presented the award to Chief
Restoule noting her leadership and commitment to her community.
Chief Restoule gave a heartfelt speech highlighting her gratitude
for the Green Energy and Economy Act, 2009 which allowed this
project to provide her community with a source of pride given the
resultant economic growth and green jobs.
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