In November, Black Lake First Nation officials announced its community members voted to approve moving forward with the C$630 million 50-MW Tazi Twe hydroelectric project, a joint venture with SaskPower in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Of the 44% of eligible voters from the First Nation group, 63% voted in favor of the project, according to a press.
Chief Rick Robillard of Black Lake First Nation said the vote is great news for the Denesuline community of about 2,000 in the northeastern corner of the province.
“Many people have been working toward this day for many years,” Robillard said, “and I’m happy to hear that our community is in support of Black Lake First Nation becoming proud owners in a profitable, long-term business.”
According to the Tazi Twe project website, the proposed facility, formerly known as the Elizabeth Falls hydro project, is a run-of-river scheme that will be constructed on reserve land designated by the Black Lake First Nation.
The primary components of the project include a water inlet structure on Black Lake across from Fir Island, a penstock that will provide flow to a powerhouse and a tail race that will return water to the Fond du Lac River near Middle Lake.
The project will also include a submerged weir at the mouth of Fond du Lac River to stabilize and maintain water levels on Black Lake, as well as the construction of access roads and a bridge across the Fond du Lac River.
The Ministry of Environment has completed a review of the project, but will need to hold public consultations. Construction could begin in late 2016 or 2017, with a projected in-service date of 2019, according to published reports.
An environmental impact statement has been filed with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment Environmental Assessment Branch.