Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark and STC Tribal Chief Mark Arcand took the first step Wednesday toward a done deal on the project set to be located on the east side of the weir.
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“There’s a knowledge sharing between the tribal council and the city in the process,” Clark said.
“There’s an opportunity to build on the good work that the First Nations Power Authority has already done, create jobs for both within the city of Saskatoon and tribal council and economic opportunity.”
The partnership is also one aimed at lessening environmental impacts for future generations by drawing from the South Saskatchewan River in a more sustainable way moving forward.
“Mother Earth is pretty valuable, look at what she provides every day for everybody, not just First Nations people but non-Indigenous people and we really got to respect that,” Arcand said.
The station will cost somewhere between $60 to $65 million, funded by private investors and STC. Exactly nine years after concept development started and it’s still subject to further feasibility studies plus environmental assessments.
Kevin Hudson, the manager of sustainable energy at Saskatoon Light and Power, said by using the river as a vital energy source, there are a few things projected to happen.
“The hydro project will produce annually about 35,000 megawatt hours and that’s equivalent to powering 3,500 homes,” Hudson said.
“As far as greenhouse gas emission it’s about 24,000 tonnes per year which is equivalent to removing 5,000 vehicles off the roadways.”
The weir will also receive a facelift as part of the work including a river crossing for pedestrians and cyclists that will be wider and safer than the one on the CP Rail Bridge.