First Nation hydro project may conflict with Parks Canada mandate

Proposed Pukaskwa National Park hydroelectric facility would supply 12,500 homes with electricity each year
White River crossing in Pukaskwa National Park. Pic River First Nation has submitted a proposal to build a hydroelectric facility in the park, at Chigamiwinigum Falls on White River, a site located within the First Nation's traditional territory. (Tom Green/Flickr)

Parks Canada says it will review the application made by Pic River First Nation to develop a hydroelectric plant in Pukaskwa National Park.

The proposal, presented on July 15, is for a hydro facility at Chigamiwinigum Falls on White River, a site located within the First Nation's traditional territory.

The regional director for Parks Canada in northern Ontario said developing a hydroelectric project within a national park would be outside the norm.

“Our mandate is to protect and present national significant examples of Canada's National Heritage,” Robin Lessard said.

“The development of hydro generation within national parks for development by a third party is not within Parks Canada's policies or mandate.”

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has already expressed concern about the encroachment of industrial development on some parkland.

The group is calling on the government to do a better job protecting national parks. 

The national director of the society's parks program said the organization is especially worried about encroachment of industrial development on some parkland.

"There has been significant challenges facing our parks,” Alison Woodley said.

“There's significant threats, and there have been more of those than there has been progress. So, overall this year, we've concluded that we're really losing ground on our parks."

Chigaminwinigum Falls is located in the northern part of Pukaskwa National Park. (Google)

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