Whitesand First Nation, a Northwestern Ontario Indigenous community, is developing an industrial park to support new biomass and wood processing facilities.
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 one kilometer south of the Town of Armstrong.
The industrial park is made possible through a Government of Canada investment of $2.81 million and a Government of Ontario investment of $949,539.
According to netnewsledger.com, 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 Corporation.
This funding complements previous Government of Canada support of $1.1 million provided by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) 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.
News reports from several months ago state that wood-based biomass is making inroads. The projects are not on a large and dramatic scale, but collectively bring the benefits of the approach to many people – and make it something about which energy managers must be familiar.