WENDAKE, QC, July 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) is delighted for those communities whose projects were approved by Hydro-Québec as part of the Program to purchase power from small hydroelectric generating stations of 50 MW, following the company's announcement last Wednesday. Of the 13 projects approved, six (6) were submitted by First Nations communities.
The Aboriginal projects approved involve three Innu communities and one Atikamekw communitiy. Two projects were proposed by the Innu Council of Pessamit and will be carried out on the Sault-aux-Cochons River. The Montagnais Council of Lac-Saint-Jean (Mashteuiatsh) also submitted two projects, one on the Ouiatchouan River, the other on the Mistissini. The Innu community of Ekuanitshit will benefit from a mini-station go up on the Sheldrake River, while the Atikamekw limited partnership Manouane Sipi will harness the Manouane River.
Still, a number of projects submitted by the First Nations were not approved as part of this call for tenders addressed to Aboriginal municipalities and communities. "We must go a step further," says the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard. "Given our rights over these territories and the quality of the projects proposed by many First Nations, we urge Hydro-Québec to create a power purchase market reserved exclusively to the First Nations. This would not only benefit our communities, but the entire province."
The energy production potential of the First Nations territories is enormous, as is the creative and innovative potential of Aboriginal communities. This is why we urge Hydro-Québec to set up a tender market for hydroelectric and other projects that is reserved exclusively to the First Nations, the keepers of these territories since times immemorial. "The communities need projects like this in order to achieve responsible social and spatial development that meets the needs of local populations," says Chief Picard.
About the AFNQL:
The AFNQL is a regional organization that brings together the 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. For more information, visit www.apnql-afnql.com.
SOURCE Cardinal Communication
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