December 12, 2023
Hydro One Inc. (Hydro One), with the support of nine First Nations partners, has submitted the final Environmental Assessment Report to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks for the Waasigan Transmission Line project. To ensure the transmission line is built with local interests in mind, Hydro One collected and responded to feedback from Indigenous communities, government agencies, local organizations, interest groups and residents before submitting the final report to the Ministry for review and decision this fall.
“We are pleased to have reached another milestone in the delivery of this critical project that is being developed in partnership with nine local First Nations and will provide many local economic benefits, attract jobs and support a clean energy future in northwest Ontario,” said Sonny Karunakaran, Vice President, Strategic Projects and Partnerships, Hydro One. “Over the course of several years, Hydro One has heard and responded to feedback from members of the community about the project, ensuring that local community input is considered in the design, planning and development of the project in a meaningful way as we prepare for construction.”
“Hydro One has demonstrated a willingness to work closely with communities throughout this process by actively listening to our comments and providing mitigation measures when possible,” said Rob Furgeson, Mayor of Atikokan. “We look forward to continuing to work together and continue these conversations as the project moves into construction.”
The final Environmental Assessment Report details engagement with the route selection process, identifies potential effects to the natural and socio-economic environments and identifies measures that will be used to avoid or minimize negative effects of the project.
Based on direct feedback received during the review period, Hydro One has committed to:
- Continue to work with residents to ensure those who want to stay in their homes can.
- Avoid the use of herbicides to manage vegetation during construction and future maintenance of the new transmission line.
- Develop an Environmental Protection Plan and a Traditional Land and Resource Use Management Plan.
- Implement monitoring programs, including an Indigenous Monitoring Program to ensure mitigation measures are effective, accurate and can be adapted based on feedback.
- Work with community members to address trespassing and unauthorized access on the corridor.
- Mitigate visual effects and enhance local habitat for wildlife by finding opportunities to allow compatible vegetation to grow on the right-of-way.
The Waasigan Transmission Line is being built in partnership with nine First Nations. They are Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation and a consortium of eight First Nations who have formed Gwayakocchigewin Limited Partnership to represent their ownership in the Project including: Migisi Sahgaigan (Eagle Lake First Nation), Fort William First Nation (Anemki Wajiw), Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, Gakijiwanong Anishinaabe Nation (Lac La Croix First Nation), Lac Seul First Nation (Obishikokaang), Seine River First Nation (Chima’aganing), and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation (Waabigonii Zaaga’igan).
Phase one of the Waasigan Transmission Line is a new double-circuit 230 kilovolt transmission line from Lakehead Transformer Station (TS) in the Municipality of Shuniah to Mackenzie TS in the Town of Atikokan, to be in service as close to the end of 2025 as possible. Phase two, a new single-circuit 230 kilovolt transmission line from Mackenzie TS to Dryden TS in the City of Dryden, is targeted to be in service by the end of 2027. Both phases also include stations enhancements to support energization of the new lines.
An application to construct the project was filed with the Ontario Energy Board on July 31, 2023 and represents a $1.2 billion infrastructure investment in the region. Completion of the line is contingent on Indigenous and stakeholder consultation as well as regulatory approvals.
To read the final report, and supplemental materials visit hydroone.com/waasigan.