• Why is OPG considering a hydroelectric development project on the Little Jackfish River?
    The Government of Ontario has asked Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to increase its hydroelectric generation capacity through the pursuit of new projects where feasible. Also, the Ontario Power Authority, which has a mandate to ensure reliable, sustainable, long-term electricity supply for Ontario, has identified the Little Jackfish River as a potential site for future development.
  • What are the benefits of the Project?
    If this project proceeds, there are a number of potential benefits, including the following:
    • supply of approximately 78MW of clean and renewable energy to Ontario's electricity system;
    • potential to reduce OPG's contributions to greenhouse gas emissions;
    • regional economic benefits through an estimated 1.5 million person-hours of employment during project construction;
    • potential for a commercial partnership with the Lake Nipigon First Nations that would ensure these communities share in the long term economic benefits of the Project; and
    • providing an opportunity to connect remote communities to the transmission grid.
  • When do you expect the environmental assessment and permitting to be completed and construction to start?
    For any major infrastructure project, it is difficult to predict exactly how long it will take to complete the environmental assessment and permitting process, which must be completed prior to the start of construction. The current schedule for the Project suggests that the earliest estimated start time for construction will be 2013
  • Is OPG talking to Aboriginal People about this Project?
    Yes. OPG will be consulting and engaging Aboriginal People* about the Project. OPG is committed to building long term, mutually beneficial working relationships with Aboriginal communities in proximity to its present and future operations.

    At the end of 2008, OPG and the Chiefs of six Lake Nipigon First Nations, including Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek, Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek, Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek, Red Rock Indian Band and Whitesand First Nation signed a non-binding agreement related to the proposed Little Jackfish Project. This Agreement commits the parties to work cooperatively over the next few years to define and assess the cultural, environmental, social, economic, and long-term sustainability of the proposal. Independent decisions will be made by each party about whether to support the Project and/or a potential partnership.

    OPG is also initiating discussions about the proposed development with other Aboriginal communities.
    *Aboriginal peoples of Canada include the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada (Constitution Act 1982. Section 35).
  • What is Environmental Assessment?
    Environmental Assessment (EA) is a planning process that is used to assess the potential effects of a potential project on the natural and human environment before final decisions are made about proceeding.
  • What is the EA process for this Project?
    This Project is subject to the Provincial Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects. It is also expected that an environmental screening will be required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Furthermore, required changes to the Nipigon River System Water Management Plan will be pursued in accordance with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' planning requirements.

    In order to help bring together all of the information requirements for these regulatory requirements, OPG will strive to carry out a single, coordinated planning process for the Project. This will help to ensure that all parties are engaged in an efficient, effective and timely manner.
  • What is a Class Environmental Assessment?
    A Class Environmental Assessment (EA) sets out a standardized planning process for a similar group of project types. A Class EA is approved under the provincial Environmental Assessment Act and applies to groups of projects that are carried out routinely and have predictable environmental effects that can be readily managed.

    The Little Jackfish Project is currently being assessed following the planning process set out under Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects. As part of the planning process, an Environmental Report will be released for review and comment (tentatively scheduled for 2012, subject to change depending on the progress and results collected during the planning process)."
  • What are you studying in the environmental assessment (EA)?
    The EA is examining the potential impact of the project on a wide variety of topics, such as:
    • fisheries and aquatic life, including consideration for mercury;
    • terrestrial vegetation, forest resources, wildlife (e.g., caribou and furbearers), birds and amphibians;
    • stability of the river banks and erosion;
    • archaeological and cultural heritage resources;
    • Aboriginal peoples rights to fish, hunt and trap;
    • sites of significance to Aboriginal people;
    • resource users such as outfitters, anglers, mining interests, trappers and the forest products industry;
    • social and economic make-up of the community of Armstrong and Whitesand First Nation; and
    • local and regional economy.

    The EA will rely on field work conducted in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 along with existing information and documentation of consultation/engagement activities with Aboriginal people, regulatory agencies, various stakeholder groups and the public

    The potential effects of the Project will be identified and measures to avoid, prevent or mitigate and lessen potential negative effects as well as enhance positive effects will be identified. The EA will also include commitments by OPG to ensure the environment is protected to the extent possible.
  • When will a decision be made about the Project?
    OPG will make a decision about developing the Project at the end of the Definition Phase, which is expected to continue through 2012. The Definition Phase includes not only the EA, but also a detailed technical and financial assessment of the preferred development scheme.

    The outcome of discussions and consultation with Aboriginal people, government agencies and other stakeholders will be considered during the decision making process
  • How can I get involved and voice my interest/opinion?
    OPG welcomes interested parties to participate as early as possible in consultation and engagement activities for the Project. Consultation is a two-way communication process that will involve a wide range of activities including, but not limited to: open houses, information centres, interviews, face-to-face meetings, telephone conversations, emails and newsletters. Meaningful consultation will help us to develop a better project.

    You may also send an email to info@littlejackfish.com in order to register on our project mailing list to receive regular project updates and notices for any upcoming consultation events.
  • What is the history of development on the Little Jackfish River?
    The Little Jackfish River was originally a small creek with an average flow less than 10 cubic metres per second (cms). In 1943 the Ogoki Diversion was created to divert flow from the Ogoki River (flowing towards the Arctic Watershed) into the Great Lakes System via the Little Jackfish River. This was done in conjunction a number of other similar diversions, to provide more water for power generating facilities on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River systems in order to supply increased generation for industrial activity in Southern Ontario in support of Canada's efforts during World War II.

    The Ogoki Diversion involved the installation of two concrete dams north of the Little Jackfish River. First, the Waboose Control Dam is located on the Ogoki River at the Waboose Rapids and its function is to divert water from the Ogoki River south to Lake Nipigon. Second, the Summit Control Dam regulates diversion of water from the Ogoki Reservoir to Lake Nipigon via the Little Jackfish River. As a result of the Ogoki Diversion, flows in the Little Jackfish River increased significantly to an average flow of about 120 cms.

    There is no existing hydroelectric development on the Little Jackfish River. A hydroelectric project was proposed in the late 1980s; however, the proposal did not proceed.
  • Is this the same Project as Ontario Hydro proposed in the late 1980s?
    No. The current proposal has been carefully developed through collaboration with environmental experts and engineers in order to avoid and address the environmental concerns and issues raised in response to the Ontario Hydro proposal of the late 1980s.

    The key changes are that the current proposal is for one generating station instead of two and the amount of inundation or flooding has been dramatically reduced to about 15% of the 1980s Project.