The New Post Creek project is more than a major project for the Taykwa Tagamou Nation. It is one part of the reconciliation of decades of environmental and social impacts from electricity generation in the Traditional Territory of the Taykwa Tagamou Nation. This reconciliation included an apology from Ontario Power Generation, a settlement agreement, the partnership that has worked to bring this project to its current stage, and the opportunity for ownership of a hydroelectric generating station producing clean, renewable energy.
TTN’s equity ownership in this project will provide annual income that can be used to generate additional wealth and invest in the development of the community. While there will be project debt to repay for some time, this project will generate revenue for many decades.
There will be opportunities for TTN members and businesses to get involved in the construction of this project. The capacity of individuals and of the entire First Nation will be built through training and employment associated with this project. The specific details of this plan are outlined in the completed TTN Engagement Plan.
The First Nation will gain from the project not only the equity share and the eventual profits from this share, but also the experience in developing and managing a project of this scale and scope. This will enable TTN to be a strong partner in future developments within the TTN Traditional Territory.
Once the project is completed, OPG’s Northeast Plant Group team from Timmins will remotely operate the generating station. Certain maintenance activities will require OPG staff, or contractors to be on site periodically.
The Abitibi River Water Management Plan will need to be amended to take into account the proposed operations of the New Post Creek project. The proposed operations will consider the need to maintain certain higher flows during spring spawning and egg incubation periods, and to ensure that there is a minimum flow over the New Post Creek falls for aesthetic values. During low flow periods, particularly in the winter months, the project may draw down on the forebay to allow the station to generate power for short periods of time. The station will then shut down to allow the forebay to refill. This will help to improve the productivity of the project, but also to maintain station heating and flow through the turbines. The proposed fluctuations are less than 0.5 meters, and the total daily inflows and outflows remain in balance.
Hydroelectric generating facilities generally operate for decades with minimal maintenance or major refurbishments. Some generating stations in Ontario have been in use for more than 100 years and remain important and valuable pieces of Ontario’s electricity infrastructure. The New Post Creek project, managed properly, will produce electricity for generations.
Next post: Benefits to the Taykwa Tagamou Nation
Through a competitive Design Build Feed Phase RFP in January 2014, Kiewit was selected as the successful contractor. The implementation of this contracting strategy used a two-phase approach. Phase 1, the Front-End Engineering & Design (FEED) Phase, which lasted approximately 10 months. During this period the Design Build Contractor completed the initial engineering and design, further refined the project costs, and completed the construction schedule. The Taykwa Tagamou Nation and the project development team established a TTN contracting and employment strategy early on to maximize the opportunities for community members to participate in the construction of the Project. The project team focused on the completion of a TTN Engagement Plan during the FEED Phase. Phase 2 is the Execution Phase or the Construction Phase. It is anticipated to last 24 to 30 months.
General layout of the proposed project site.
Included in the Design Build FEED Phase RFP was a guideline document outlining some of the contracting/employment expectations for TTN members and businesses. The RFP submissions included a requirement for the contractors to submit a draft TTN Engagement Plan. During the FEED Phase the DB Contractor completed the TTN Engagement Plan and worked with TTN members and businesses. CRP/OPG will monitor the implementation of the plan throughout the Construction Phase.
The New Post Creek Project will include a number of major construction activities including:
- site clearing and preparation
- construction of a temporary work camp
- intake and spillway construction
- penstock installation
- powerhouse and tailrace construction, and
- transmission line.
The construction and project design will utilize existing roads and infrastructure where possible to minimize the impact on the environment. The project will use the existing Otter Rapids Road and a previously existing forestry road to get close to the intake site.
The entire construction phase of the project started in late 2014.
Next post: Project Operations
The New Post Creek project team has worked closely with provincial ministries to complete the unique permitting requirements for the proposed project site. In 1985, the New Post Creek, and a large portion of the Little Abitibi River, were designated as a non-operating Ontario Provincial Waterway Park. In order to proceed with the New Post Creek project, a small portion of the Park was deregulated, and new lands were added to the park to replace the area removed. TTN, in collaboration with Parks Ontario and OMNR, has helped to identify potential lands that will replace those lands deregulated for this project. The lands identified will increase the overall ecological integrity and size of this park.
Map of the proposed project area.
Coral Rapids Power has met with various federal funding agencies and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) who provided support for some of the early stage environmental and engineering work through the ecoEnergy program. AANDC, through the Major Projects and Investment Fund, also contributed funding for additional engineering and environmental assessment work.
Following baseline environmental studies and engineering assessments, the project team commenced the Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) for Waterpower Projects in November 2011. This process was coordinated with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’s Little Abitibi Provincial Park management statement amendment, its Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves, and the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas amendment to propose the deregulation of the lands required for the project.
The EA process is now complete, and the Notice of Completion was issued in November 2013. With the EA approval received, and the engineering work and other internal approvals received (from TTN and OPG), the project has moved to Execution Phase. During the Execution Phase (or sometimes known as Construction Phase), engineering drawings and plans are finalized, and other non-EA approvals are obtained. These typically include permits from government authorities such as the Ministry of Natural Resource (MNR) and the Ministry of Environment (MOE). Other permits and approvals include but are not limited to Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), Hydro One, and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) permits. The project began construction in late 2014 and is anticipated to begin generating electricity in 2017.
Next post: Project Construction and Design
The TTN community voted in 2007 to accept a grievance settlement agreement from OPG for past exploitation of water resources in their Traditional Territory. The final settlement agreement was signed Nov. 26, 2007. Part of the settlement included a mandate to move forward in a partnership with OPG to explore and develop the New Post Creek project. The New Post Creek project had previously been identified as a potential development site through the negotiation process with OPG and discussions with TTN community members.
The project development process has continually moved forward since this time and has included consultation with the Moose Cree First Nation. TTN and the Moose Cree First Nation (MCFN) continue to work together to consider how current plans for hydroelectric development impact on each other’s Territory. The Moose Cree First Nation is working with OPG to re-develop the Lower Mattagami Complex. TTN and MCFN have concluded a Reciprocal Agreement that includes provisions for supporting each other’s proposed developments. This region is rich in water resources, and the First Nations are becoming fully involved in this potential to ensure their members enjoy and prosper from all the benefits derived from the use of these lands.
A view of the New Post Creek in 1899, prior to the diversion.
The New Post Creek site was chosen to make use of the significant elevation change between the New Post Creek and the Abitibi River. The creek historically had lower flows, but a diversion dam built in 1963 diverted a significant portion of the Little Abitibi River through the New Post Creek into the Abitibi River to increase power production on the hydroelectric facility at Otter Rapids. The proposed development will help to restore a portion of the creek and the falls to the conditions remembered by the Elders of TTN.
The old Hudson’s Bay Company New Post Creek trading post is located near the confluence of the New Post Creek and the Abitibi River. The Taykwa Tagamou Nation was previously called the New Post First Nation as previous generations traded at this location, and some evidence of an old portage route in this area can still be found. In 1905 what became known as Treaty 9 was signed between the New Post Indians and Canada at this site.
Next post: Project Development
Aerial photo of the construction at Little Long Generating Station in August 2012.
Moose Cree First Nation and Ontario Power Generation Inc. is proceeding with work on the Lower Mattagami Project, which is in the same region as the proposed location for the New Post Creek project. The Lower Mattagami Project will add 450MW of new generation capacity by extending or replacing several generating stations on the Mattagami River. More information about this project can be found at www.lowermattagami.com.
Detour Lake mine processing facilities.
Detour Gold Corporation has successfully redeveloped the Detour Lake Mine with first gold pour occurring in February 2013. Detour Gold concluded an Impact Benefits Agreement (IBA) with the Taykwa Tagamou Nation in 2011.
The Detour Lake deposit is Canada’s largest undeveloped gold reserve and Detour Gold estimates the reserves at more than 15.6 million ounces. This site is on track to become Canada’s largest operating gold mine.
More information about this project can be found at www.detourgold.com.
Trade Union: Teamsters
Minimum age: 18
Cost to apply: No cost.
Apprenticeship: Not applicable
Other Requirements: G license
Additional Training: Options: forklift, computers, C-license (bus), G-license, D or AZ. Teamsters will want input to program, can assist with training, and want to be informed on students’ progress.
Registration Process (Where/ How, When Hiring): To be announced. Contact information for registration:Teamsters Canada Online.
Funding: Teamsters will look into ability to reimburse students after successful completion of training.
Trade Union: Sheet Metal Workers
Minimum age: 18
Minimum education: Grade 12 or equivalent
Cost to apply: No cost.
- 3 school terms (280 hours each in Oakville)
- 9000 hours on the job training (500 hours are credited for successful completion of Grade 12 and aptitude test)
Other Requirements: Aptitude test
Registration Process (Where/ How, When Hiring): Apply to Union for apprenticeship, pass aptitude test, register with Union and MTCU
Contact information for registration: Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 562.
Trade Union: Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA)
Minimum age: 18
Minimum education: Grade 12 or equivalent.
Cost to apply: No cost for years 1-3, $150.00 after 3 years.
- 250 classroom hours per term
- Sault Ste Marie
- 8250 hours on the job training
- 3 school terms
- Aptitude test
- Driver’s license
Registration Process (Where/ How, When Hiring): To be announced. Contact information for registration:Ontario Pipe Trades Council