The Gitga’at First Nation has ambitious plans to become the “greenest First Nation in Canada.” A central component of this plan revolves around the construction of a 900kW hydroelectricity facility in its community of Hartley Bay, which will provide it with a green alternative to its existing dependency on diesel generators. Ultimately, the introduction of clean, renewable energy will create improved social, environmental and economic benefits that align well with the unique Gitga’at culture.
In support of this goal, Sauder S3i is working with the Nation to determine economic benefits that would come as a result of the project’s construction and operation phases. The construction phase is expected to begin in 2012 and is separated into two parts (1) the construction of an access road, and (2) the construction of hydro generating infrastructure (i.e. weir, penstock, and powerhouse). It is within this phase that analyses are being conducted as a significant number of contractors, engineers and construction workers will be in Hartley Bay where potential revenue and employment opportunities are available for the Nation and entrepreneurs within the community.
In addition to reviewing benefits that other communities have achieved within this scope, as well as opportunities specific to the Nation, a large role in this assessment is to communicate with the community about its role in delivering and receiving benefits that support the goals of the project. As a result of these conversations and other analysis, the Nation will be able to establish parameters around expected economic benefits when entering into negotiations with project stakeholders.