Pic River First Nation has submitted a proposal to build a hydroelectric facility in Pukaskwa National Park.
It would be at Chigamiwinigum Falls on White River, a site located within the First Nation's traditional territory.
The First Nation has extensive experience in this area, according to Byron LeClair, Pic River's director of energy project development
"I think that our 25 years of experience — in terms of developing, owning and operating these types of facilities — shows that we're capable of developing these projects with minimal impact to the environment."
LeClair said the Pukaskwa facility would produce enough electricity for more than 12,000 homes every year. Added to the Pic River Energy portfolio, this would push the community's supply of electricity to about 33,000 Ontario homes. The project would cost in excess of a $100 million and be Pic River's largest project to date.
The development would be a natural fit for the First Nation, he said.
"We have history, in terms of being able to balance a commercial need to generate renewable energy against preserving park values, and ... from our perspective, we don't see renewable energy and the national park mandate as being incompatible."
A spokesperson for Parks Canada confirmed that officials from Pukaskwa Park met with Pic River First Nation on Wednesday.
LeClair said they hope to complete the environmental assessment as soon as possible, and look forward to new construction taking place in 2018.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the First Nation said Parks Canada already hosts numerous hydroelectric facilities.
"The Trent Severn National Park has 26 hydro power stations in Ontario,” LeClair said.
“Out west, Banff National Park has the Cascade Falls Generating Station, and Jasper plays host to the Astoria Falls Generating Facility. We anticipate full Park support for Pic River's proposal."