Biomass cogeneration facility, pellet plant planned in Ontario

By Office of Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North | October 24, 2017

The Northwestern Ontario Indigenous community of Whitesand First Nation will develop an industrial park to support new biomass and wood processing facilities thanks to a government of Canada investment of $2.81 million and a government of Ontario investment of $949,539.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and member of parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, made the announcement Oct. 20 on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedNor, and the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services. The Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Chair of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation made the announcement on behalf of the Province of Ontario.

Once completed, this innovative and environmentally responsible industrial development project will attract new business and provide meaningful year-round employment opportunities for community members and those in surrounding far northern communities. The first tenants of the industrial park will be the community-owned and operated Sagatay Cogeneration LP and Sagatay Wood Pellets LP. Under Sagatay, Whitesand First Nation has negotiated a 20-year renewable agreement for electrical generation to ensure a guaranteed revenue stream and the sustainability of the industrial park project. The new park, offering fully serviced land for lease, will be located on Highway 527, approximately 1 kilometer south of the Town of Armstrong.

Today’s announcement is an example of how government of Canada departments can work collaboratively with all partners to support community prosperity. Through its Community Opportunity Readiness Program, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada has provided $1.8 million to support this initiative, which will promote economic reconciliation by supporting a strong socio-economic future for Whitesand First Nation, creating meaningful employment, and building a robust local economy.  FedNor’s investment of $949,539 is provided through its Northern Ontario Development Program, while the provincial investment of $949,539 is provided through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp.

 This funding complements previous Government of Canada support of $1.1 million provided by Natural Resources Canada under its Indigenous Forestry Initiative through the federal Strategic Partnerships Initiative. This funding supported project planning and pre-development, and the negotiations for the power purchase agreement, which will allow the community to secure capital financing and loan guarantees to advance the development of the new biomass and wood processing facilities.

“Whitesand First Nation is proud to partner with the governments of Canada and Ontario to make this game-changing, generational project a reality,” said the chief and council of Whitesand First Nation. “We have been pursuing this complex development for many, many years and we could not be happier to finally see it moving from development towards construction and implementation. The industrial park will be known as the Bio-Energy Centre and will provide a home for our biomass co-generation facility, wood pellet plant and wood merchandising yard.  Whitesand First Nation will capitalize on the new low carbon economy to create meaningful employment, while respecting the environment and providing clean, renewable power.”