Namewaminikan Hydroelectric project
The Namewaminikan Hydroelectric Project north of Beardmore has been discussed with the BNA membership for nearly a decade. The Project includes 2 dams being constructed at Twin Falls (4.4 MW) and Long Rapid (5.6 MW), for a total power production of 10 MW. However, finally, after years of consultation and negotiations, an agreement was reached between BNA, AZA, BZA, and Group Axor in December of 2012. The Project began construction in the spring of 2015, and is expected to be in operation by the end of 2016.
This Project has had numerous benefits for BNA and its 2 First Nation neighbours, and will continue to produce benefits into the future at the end of construction. Some of these benefits include the following:
- During the construction phase, the number of members from each community employed included BNA (9), BZA (10), AZA (9). The 3 First Nations hired Joe Hanlon as Coordinator to ensure that all efforts were made to have equality in numbers amongst the communities.
- In order to further increase benefits to the 3 First Nations, partnerships were formed with Trifecta, Gridlink, and the Allen Group, companies that were contracted by Axor to work on the Project. Employment, revenue sharing, and other benefits resulted from our arrangements.
- Through our negotiations with Axor, the First Nations ensured that the full-time and part-time operators for the Project once operational would go to members from the 3 First Nations. Interviews were held with members from all 3 communities, and Joe Hanlon participated in order to ensure fairness. Axor has said that the successful candidates will be selected soon.
- The First Nations will be working with both Axor and the Ministry of Environment in order to ensure that the environmental impacts from the project are minimized wherever possible. Mercury monitoring will be a major part of the post-construction regime put in place by the Ministry, and the First Nations will be involved.
- Once operational, the First Nations will receive a royalty on a quarterly basis going forward. This revenue will assist BNA as it continues to develop its reserve lands.
The Namewaminikan Hydroelectric Project has been an excellent Project with respect to employment and contracting services for BNA and its First Nation neighbours. The revenues received from this Project once operational will assist BNA in its developments for decades to come.