Saskatchewan

Hydroelectric project could bring $1.3B to northern Sask. First Nation

The chief of the Black Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan has big dreams for the community, if a hydroelectric project goes ahead.

Chief has big dreams for community's future

The proposed Tazi Twé hydro project could return $1.3B to the Black Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan. (Tazi Twe Hydro Project )

The chief of the Black Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan has big dreams for the community, if a hydroelectric project goes ahead.

Approval is one step closer this week, after nearly two-thirds of the band members who voted said "yes" to the Tazi Twé hydro project.

The project would add 50 megawatts of power to the provincial grid and return about $1.3 billion to the community over 90 years.

Chief Rick Robillard says that money could do a lot to help the 1,600 people who live in the remote community, about 100 kilometres south of the border between Saskatchewan and the N.W.T.

"We're struggling with a shortage of housing," Robillard said. "You have about three families dwelling in one house and that can create some other problems like health and social problems."

Robillard says returns from the project could be used to improve housing, roads and education.

The dream would be an indoor, artificial ice arena for Black Lake- Chief Rick Robillard

He says his main priority is the community's young people.

"We can also look at recreational facilities," Robillard said. "The dream would be an indoor, artificial ice arena for Black Lake and indoor soccer."

The proposed $630 million water diversion project would be a partnership between the community and SaskPower, the province's electrical utility.

The project is expected to supply 50 megawatts to the provincial power grid and would be the first new hydro project in the province in more than 30 years.

Provincial approval is still required for the project, but proponents say once the final green light is given construction could begin in late 2016 or 2017.

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