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Manitoba’s $1-billion Wuskwatim Hydro Development wins approval

The Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) community of Nelson House has voted to go ahead with Manitoba Hydro to develo...


The Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) community of Nelson House has voted to go ahead with Manitoba Hydro to develop the Wuskwatim Generating Station in Northern Manitoba. The First Nation community held a secret ballot on June 14 in which 62% of the people voted in favour of ratifying a project development agreement with Manitoba Hydro.Then on June 21 the province issued two environmental licenses for construction of the generating station, as well as for the transmision lines. A third water power licence was expected to be approved shortly as well.The 200 MW plant would be built on the Burntwood River, about 45 kilometres southwest of Thompson and 35 kilometres southeast of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation community of Nelson House. The project will require less than a half-square kilometre of new land to be flooded for the dam reservoir. The band has six years to raise the $28 million it needs to invest in the project, which is expected to cost a total of $1 billion.Prime engineering consultant on the design, which is ready for construction, is Acres Manitoba. Other consulting engineering firms involved include KGS, UMA, SMS, Footprint, Crosier Kilgour and J.R. Cousin. TetrES was involved in the environmental impact assessment along with North South Consulting and InterGroup.Consultations with the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation over the project have been held over the past nine years. The project still requires provincial and federal approval. Manitoba Hydro president and chief executive officer Bob Brennan said: “I’m very pleased with the outcome of the community’s vote … An enormous amount of care, hard work and diligence have brought us all to this important milestone in our history.”Construction is forecast to take approximately six years, with a workforce of up to 540 people on site.