Mactaquac Project First Nations engagement process begins with choice of partner
Fredericton, N.B. – NB Power is launching a fulsome and extensive engagement process with First Nations on the future of the Mactaquac Generating Station with assistance from a partnership between New Brunswick-based Dillon Consulting and the Kingsclear First Nation Economic Development Corporation.
"NB Power recognizes the unique rights of First Nations and invited proposals from qualified bidders to help create and deliver an engagement strategy as part of the evaluation process for the future of Mactaquac," said Gaëtan Thomas, president and CEO of NB Power. "Following a rigorous evaluation process, we are proud to announce that Dillon Consulting, in partnership with Kingsclear, will begin work with NB Power to ensure First Nations rights and their unique indigenous knowledge are included in the process."
Mactaquac Generating Station will reach the end of its lifespan by 2030. NB Power has identified three possible options for the station, which are rebuilding the station with a new powerhouse and spillway, maintaining the earthen dam and spillway only, or restoring the river to its natural state.
Given the anticipated times required for approvals, design and site work, NB Power needs to choose a preferred option for the station by 2016. That preferred option will then be subject to the appropriate approval processes of the provincial and federal governments and the province's Energy and Utilities Board.
"Dillon's approach in delivering the First Nations engagement strategy will be to understand the project, understand the First Nations interests and issues and find common ground to build a social license moving forward," said Bill Borland, Associate, Dillon Consulting. "We are very proud to work closely with NB Power and Kingsclear First Nation to ensure the voices of those affected can be heard in the proper cultural context, and also to provide community members with employment and learning opportunities while providing valued input on this project."
Dillon Consulting has extensive experience with First Nations engagement process on large resource projects across Canada. As part of this contract, the Kingsclear First Nation Economic Development Corporation will be engaged with Dillon as a sub-consultant through a Memorandum of Understanding to provide First Nations research, community data, traditional knowledge, cultural and historical context and access to the potentially affected First Nations of New Brunswick.
"I have always been a strong proponent of innovative approaches to ensure First Nation communities take their respective place at the table regarding decisions affecting our traditional territories," said Kingsclear First Nation Chief Gabriel Atwin. "Today's announcement from NB Power reflects a truly meaningful partnership between the parties and recognizes our rights and responsibility to be good stewards of the land – it is truly historic."
NB Power's partnership with Dillon is just one component of an evaluation of the three options for the future of Mactaquac. That evaluation includes scientific research by the Canadian Rivers Institute, other environmental work, assessment of social impacts, engineering, and economic analysis. The evaluation will be complemented by an ongoing public engagement process that includes stakeholders and affected communities.