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August 29, 2023
“The line that brings light”—“Wataynikaneyap” in Anishiniiniimowin—has made its way to Bearskin Lake First Nation, connecting that northern Ontario community to the provincial power grid in July.
Upon grid connection, the community—which is located over 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay—turned off the diesel generators that had been providing them with primary power.
“Grid connection is necessary to power the future needs of the community, including our future water and wastewater community upgrades,” said Chief Lefty Kamenawatamin. “Reliable power enables us to grow. We have multiple houses and buildings ready for connection, as we no longer have to worry about being at max capacity for power.”
The Wataynikaneyap Power transmission system connects the Bearskin Lake community distribution system to the provincial grid through a total of 739 kilometres of line and six substations, originating from the Dinorwic Substation.
“I want to acknowledge the work that Bearskin Lake leadership has already undertaken to take full advantage of the opportunities reliable power brings—for instance, to improve their housing situation,” said Margaret Kenequanash, CEO, Wataynikaneyap Power. “Now that we have a power transmission line, owned by the First Nations, we can all focus on looking to future opportunities instead of band-aid solutions.”