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article imageWhitesand First Nation biomass project gets funding boost

By Karen Graham     Oct 24, 2017 in Business
Armstrong - The Northwestern Ontario Indigenous community of Whitesand First Nation began construction on Monday of an industrial park to support new biomass and wood processing facilities, thanks to the support of the federal and provincial governments.
The first tenants of the new industrial park will be the community-owned-and-operated Sagatay Cogeneration LP and Sagatay Wood Pellets LP, according to Energy Manager Today.
Whitesand First Nation, with a population of 500 people, negotiating as Sagatay, secured a 20-year renewable agreement for electrical generation, guaranteeing a secure revenue stream and the sustainability of the industrial park. The new industrial park is located on Highway 527, about one kilometer south of the Town of Armstrong.
The Ontario and the federal government have together, contributed $3.76 million towards the project. "It's a privilege to support this project in going forward because this is exactly the kind of innovation that we need in terms of energy production for our country," said Patty Hajdu, minister of employment, workforce development and labour and MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, reports CBC News.
The community is currently using diesel fuel to provide energy, and converting to biomass will be a much greener alternative. "Hopefully with this new plant we will have clean energy and keep the environment clean," said Allan Gustafson, chief of Whitesand First Nation.
The bigger plus is yet to come. Once the industrial park is completed, it will attract other businesses, providing year-round employment opportunities for not only the local community but others in the far northern region. Canadian Biomass Magazine applauds the initiative, writing that the industrial park is an excellent "example of how the governments of Canada and Ontario can work together collaboratively in support of community prosperity."
The project also had the support of the previous Government of Canada. About $1.1 million was provided by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) under its Indigenous Forestry Initiative and provided funding for planning and pre-development of the project, along with help with negotiations in securing the power purchase agreement.
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