First Nation group wants gas to replace burning wood, oil to heat homes

After enduring higher costs while burning wood and oil for heat during 10 years of research and discussions, Canada’s Nipissing First Nation (NFN) held a ground breaking ceremony yesterday to mark start of construction of long-needed natural gas infrastructure in several of its communities.

“It has been a long road to get to this point,” said Chief Scott McLeod referring to the nearly 10 years of discussions and research that preceded the project, “but we had a great team that was committed to seeing the project become a reality and we are thrilled to be celebrating this milestone today.”

After 10 Years of Research, Canada’s Nipissing First Nation Breaks Ground on NatGas Project

Photo: NFN

“A Union Gas pipeline has run through the NFN community for many years and we saw that as an opportunity for our members to benefit from the energy that was already present here,” adds Dwayne Nashkawa, Chief Executive Officer of NFN.

“As a community that prides itself on being stewards of the land, it was important to offer our members an alternative energy source that was not only cheaper, but also environmentally friendly.”

Construction is expected to be completed by August 2017.

NFN’s Economic Development Department began discussions with Union Gas in 2008 and conducted in-depth research into the feasibility of the project in 2010. The project team consisted of NFN’s Chief, Council and staff, as well as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Union Gas and Aecon.

Research showed gas is cleaner, more efficient, more cost-effective than burning wood, oil, propane, or hydro

A major driver for this research was the knowledge that many households continued to struggle with the high costs of heating their homes with other methods, such as propane, oil, hydro and wood.

The research clearly showed that natural gas offered a cleaner, more efficient and cost-effective solution for the membership, the NFN said in a press release.

 

A pilot project was completed in the community of Duchesnay (near North Bay) in 2014 and saw a 90-95% connection rate. A minimum of 70% connection is required for the installation of natural gas services to proceed, according to the NFN.

Building on the success of this pilot, NFN began the process of consulting with other communities within its land base and providing more information about the benefits of natural gas services. The decision to move forward with expanding the natural gas project in 2017 was unanimously backed by Chief and Council, and strongly supported by the residents of Jocko Point, Meadowside, Beaucage, Nova Beaucage/Yellek and Art’s Lane.

The project will bring affordable and efficient energy to over 350 households and 10 businesses across Nipissing Nation, while also generating construction jobs and business spin-offs for community members.

Nipissing First Nation’s mission is to continue to protect its inherent rights and to empower the membership to work together in a positive, progressive manner to improve well-being and quality of life, and to be socially and economically independent, culturally strong and self-governing.

 


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