Nipissing First Nation is celebrating breaking ground on the construction of natural gas infrastructure in several of its communities. Construction will begin in Jocko Point, and move east to the communities of Meadowside, Beaucage, Nova Beaucage/Yellek, and Art’s Lane. The work is expected to be completed by August, and Chief Scott McLeod says it’s been a long road to get to this point. McLeod was referring to the nearly 10 years of discussions and research that preceded the project, but he added they had a great team that was committed to seeing the project become a reality and they’re thrilled to be celebrating this milestone.
The project team consisted of NFN’s Chief, Council and staff, as well as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Union Gas and Aecon. NFN’s Economic Development Department began discussions with Union Gas in 2008 and conducted in-depth research into the feasibility of the project in 2010. A major driver for this research was the knowledge that many households continued to struggle with the high costs of heating their homes with other methods, such as propane, oil, hydro and wood. The research clearly showed that natural gas offered a cleaner, more efficient and cost-effective solution for the membership.
A pilot project completed in Duchesnay in 2014 saw a 90 to 95 per cent connection rate, which was above the minimum of 70 per cent required for installation of natural gas services to proceed. The decision to move forward with expanding the natural gas project was unanimously backed by Chief and Council, and strongly supported by the residents in the communities. The project is expected to create construction jobs and business spin-offs for community members, and bring affordable and efficient energy to over 350 households and 10 businesses across Nipissing Nation.