Next year’s start of construction of the East-West Tie Transmission Project will be a “huge win” to enable Indigenous communities on the north shore of Lake Superior to recruit and grow a homegrown skilled workforce.
“I think everyone’s eyes are going to open,” said Red Rock Indian Band councillor Matthew Dupuis, a director for SuperCom Industries, which is partnering with the project’s lead contractor.
Supercom is a contracting and training joint venture run by six First Nation communities across whose traditional land the power line upgrading project will cross. Its mandate to maximize First Nations involvement in the $700-million corridor project by supplying skilled labour, negotiating service and supply contracts, and cultivating business partnerships.
In mid-December, East-West developer NextBridge Infrastructure selected Valard Construction as the general contractor to build the 450-kilometre-long line between Wawa and Thunder Bay.
The green flag to start construction on the often-delayed power project drops in late 2018 with completion slated for 2020. It involves clearing the right-of-way for the construction of a double-circuit 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line, which would parallel an existing corridor.