‘Namgis nets hydro funding

Loan agreement between the ‘Namgis First Nation and the Government of Canada will provide up to $12.94 million

A first-of-its-kind loan agreement between the ‘Namgis First Nation and the Government of Canada will provide up to $12.94 million for development of the Kokish run-of-river hydroelectric project.

Minister of Finance Joe Oliver last week announced the Government of Canada’s support through a P3 Canada Fund preferential loan. This low-interest loan is the first P3 Canada Fund project with a First Nation, and will help the ‘Namgis First Nation to build equity in the 45-megawatt hydroelectric development located within ‘Namgis core territory. The infrastructure is producing electricity for sale to BC Hydro under a 40-year Electricity Purchase Agreement. A portion of the revenue generated each year will be directed into a ‘Namgis Community Benefit Fund.

“The Kokish River project embodies ‘Namgis values of respect for environment, culture and sound management,” said Debra Hanuse, ‘Namgis Chief. “Through the P3 Canada Fund loan, we were able to establish a partnership with a corporation that shares our values. This partnership will enable our Nation to share in the economic benefits derived from our ancestral lands.”

The project is owned and managed by Kwagis Power LP, a limited partnership of the ‘Namgis First Nation and Brookfield Renewable Power, with Brookfield responsible for design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance, and ‘Namgis a partner in decision making and monitoring.

By entering into this long-term partnership agreement, the First Nation has secured an active role and participation in a sustainable energy project in its ancestral lands, without undue risk to ‘Namgis. The First Nation has the ability to monitor and evaluate the private partner’s performance.

“This innovative P3 project will allow the ‘Namgis to generate both energy and revenue while safeguarding North Vancouver Island’s ecosystem,” said Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance. “It also means high-quality jobs will be available for people in the ‘Namgis community over the next 40 years.”

The $1.2-billion P3 Canada Fund is managed by PPP Canada, a Crown corporation responsible for advancing Canadian public-private partnerships (P3s) through the provision of expert advice and support to all levels of government.