OPG partners with First Nation for $300M project – by Alan S. Hale (Timmins Daily Press – August 28, 2015)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

SMOOTH ROCK FALLS – Nearly 30 years of work by the members of the Taykwa Tagamou First Nation culminated in a ceremony held along the bank on the New Post Creek north of Smooth Rock Falls on Thursday morning.

The location is the future site of the Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station, which is a joint project between Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and a band-owned company, Coral Rapids Power. Although construction began on the $300 million hydroelectric dam months ago, the official announcement of the project was an emotional one for the First Nation members; some of whom have worked for decades to make it a reality.

“It took a big team to put this together. We had to push hard for it, and sometimes it nearly went off the rails. But we had a dream, and it is now a reality,” said band councillor and former chief Peter Archibald, who has worked on the project since 1979. “When this started, I had long hair that was black. Look at me now — falling out and white!”

Once completed, the new dam will produce 28 megawatts of power; enough to power 1,000 to 2,000 homes. The construction of the dam is expected to create 220 construction jobs.

Under their agreement with OPG, Taykwa Tagamou will have a 33% stake in the generating station. Their share of the profits from the dam will become a much-needed steady source of revenue for the band, which Chief Dwight Sutherland said they plan to invest in things such as housing and further economic development for the community.

“Today is really important for us, today is a really historic day that’s going to lead to future revenues and development within our traditional territory,” said Chief Sutherland. “This is going to create a lot of employment and benefits for our people. All the spinoffs will be amazing for the next couple years. We’re pretty happy about this.”

Several of the Taykwa Tagamou dignitaries who spoke at Thursday’s ceremony extended their gratitude to Cochrane’s mayor, Peter Politis, who was a consultant for them before his political career. Politis was credited with helping the First Nation with launching their economic development ambitions.

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