The provincial government is supporting economic growth, job creation, and resource development in Northwestern Ontario by providing certainty around the construction of a new transmission line between Thunder Bay and Wawa.
Energy minister Greg Rickford visited Fort William First Nation last Wednesday to announce that the province has directed the Ontario Energy Board to designate NextBridge as the transmitter to build the line, known as the East-West Tie Line Project.
“Maintaining reliability and cost-efficiency is a top priority for our government,” said Rickford, who also is the minister of Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs.
“Moving forward with the East-West Tie Line will support economic growth in Northwestern Ontario, signalling that Ontario is ‘Open for Business’ and connecting communities and indigenous people with good, local job opportunities, now and in the future,” he added.
The 450-km transmission line is needed to meet growing demand for electricity in Northwestern Ontario.
It will enhance reliability, improve the flow of cheaper and lower-emission energy, and add the capacity needed for major regional development projects like the Wataynikaneyap Power Project and the “Ring of Fire.”
“I welcome the government’s bold action to confirm that NextBridge will construct the East-West Tie Line Project,” said Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins.
“This is good news for families and businesses in Northern Ontario,” he noted.
“The East-West Tie Line will ensure the availability of electricity in the region, supporting a new era of economic growth and opportunity.”
“Learning from and inspired by the people and the land, we set out to develop an energy project as unique as the north,” said Jennifer Tidmarsh, project director, NextBridge.
“By working together, we developed a project that is strong, respectful of community, reflective of the uniqueness of the north, and, most importantly, built on trust and mutual benefit,” she added.
“By working with our indigenous and municipal partners, we all proved that by finding innovative ways to ensure mutual benefit and economic participation, it is possible to develop energy infrastructure with local consent from host communities.”
With the support of the Ontario government, NextBridge has trained more than 300 indigenous community members for project-related jobs.
The East-West Tie Line Project will deliver more than $200 million in economic benefits for First Nation communities.