Persevering with economic development objectives key to success – by Rick Garrick (Anishinabek News – November 1, 2023)

SAULT STE. MARIE — Five Nations Energy Inc. CEO Pat Chilton stressed the importance of persevering with economic development objectives on the second day of the inaugural annual Anishinabek Nation Economic Development Opportunities Forum 2023.

Chilton highlighted how the three James Bay First Nations of Fort Albany, Kashechewan, and Attawapiskat persevered with their concept of building a transmission line on the James Bay coast to get rid of diesel-operated generators in the communities even though the federal and provincial governments and Ontario Hydro said it was not possible during his keynote at the Forum, which was held by the Anishinabek Nation Economic Development Department from Oct. 24-26 at the Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.

“Thirty-seven times we were told, ‘It can’t be done’, ‘You’re not going to do it’ — but we kept going. Eventually, we got the financing in place, we had the engineers, we talked to a lot of lenders, we talked to Indian Affairs,” Chilton says.

“Indian Affairs came on side eventually. We went through what they called the avoided cost funding model, that’s basically identifying what the cost would be for the next 25 years to operate those diesels in those communities and transport [fuel] and that type of thing. We weighed them against the environmental damage the diesels were doing in our communities, so they finally came on board and they gave the money that fronted the whole thing.”

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