- 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?
this project proceeds, there are a number of potential benefits, including the
- 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
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
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
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?
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
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
- Aboriginal peoples rights to fish, hunt and
- 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
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
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.