Signing of the Hydromega/Okikendawt Hydro Project partnership in June 2012, from left, Hydromega representative Stephan Boyer with Dokis First Nation councillors Gerry Duquette, Derek Restoule, Chris Dokis and Roger Restoule. Front: The late Leonard Dokis (Councillor) and Chief Denise Restoule.    – Photo by Marci Becking

Signing of the Hydromega/Okikendawt Hydro Project partnership in June 2012, from left, Hydromega representative Stephan Boyer with Dokis First Nation councillors Gerry Duquette, Derek Restoule, Chris Dokis and Roger Restoule. Front: The late Leonard Dokis (Councillor) and Chief Denise Restoule. – Photo by Marci Becking

DOKIS FIRST NATION – Chief Denise Restoule and Jacky Cerceau, President of Hydromega Services are pleased to announce that construction on the Okikendawt Hydroelectric Project has commenced.

Located adjacent to an existing dam that controls an outflow from Lake Nipissing into the French River on traditional Dokis territory, the Okikendawt Project is a commercial venture jointly‐owned by Hydromega and the Dokis Nation. The 10 megawatt facility will sell 100% of its power to the Ontario Power Authority for a forty (40) year term through a Feed‐in‐Tariff (FIT) power purchase agreement.

“The Okikendawt Project is a ground‐breaking initiative for our First Nation community”, expressed Chief Restoule. “We are enormously proud to be building a generating station that will supply clean and renewable power for Ontario electricity consumers” she added. The Okikendawt Project adheres to all environmental and safety standards required by the Ontario and Federal governments. Water levels on Lake Nipissing and the French River will remain unchanged as the facility will only utilize excess water that currently flows over PWGSC’s Dam. Water will be discharged from the generating station into the Portage Channel of the French River. The project fishery habitat will be improved, and any sensitive ecological and archeological zones protected. Extensive local consultation has ensured that the design of the project adheres to a wide range of stakeholder concerns in the Lake Nipissing/French River region.

Jacky Cerceau, President of Hydromega stated, “We anticipate that construction of the project will take 18 months before the generating station is ready for operation”. “During both the construction and operating phases, Hydromega is pleased that the Okikendawt Hydroelectric Project will provide local jobs opportunities and economic spin‐offs, and employ members of the Dokis community”, he highlighted.

Project partners, Hydromega and the Dokis Nation wish to express their sincere appreciation to local, Ontario and Federal authorities for their support and collaboration to make the project a reality.

“The assistance of the Ontario Power Authority, Hydro One, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, local municipalities and the federal departments of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Public Works and Government Services Canada was invaluable”, expressed Chief Restoule. “They were team players, and are clearly committed to clean and renewable energy‐based economic development, through joint First Nation – private sector partnerships. We particularly applaud the positive impact of Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act on sustainable power for the Province”, she added.

The partners also express their appreciation to the project financing sources for their invaluable insight and participation in the project. The 40 year debt financing was arranged by Stonebridge Financial Corporation and funded by Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. and Stonebridge Infrastructure Debt Fund I Limited Partnership while RBC provided equity financing for the Dokis First Nation. “Development of the project will lead to significant investment in construction‐related activities, services and equipment contracts with numerous companies, including The Miller Group and Andritz Hydro Canada”, expressed Jacky Cerceau.

Several companies played critical roles in the development of the project including law firms David Ward Philips Vineberg, Dentons and Weaver Simmons, with Lumos Energy acting as clean energy advisor to the Dokis Nation.

“The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) congratulates Dokis First Nation and Hydromega Services on the ground‐breaking of the Okikendawt Hydro Project,” said Paul Norris, President of OWA. “Building capacity in Aboriginal Communities is of significant importance to our Association and this project is an example of the positive and productive partnerships that are possible in waterpower.”

“The Dokis people have waited many years for this day”, stated Chief Restoule. “The Okikendawt Project lays a sustainable foundation for our community for generations and generations. We shall re‐invest earnings from the project wisely in economic development, community infrastructure and facilities, and membership services”, added Chief Restoule.