Temporary generators are being installed at Pukatawagan to allow residents to return back home safely after power was lost in recent wildfires.
Hydro said after just over a month of planning, transportation, and installation work, it has energized two large industrial generators to bring back power to the residents of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation.
“Installing the generators means that essential services — such as health, water and sewer, service to our homes, access to the outside world through internet services and other media are available again.” said Lorna Bighetty, Mathias Colomb Cree Nation Chief.
“We will rest at night and rise in the morning knowing that our families are safe.”
The wildfire forced the evacuation of 2,000 residents and damaged the power line but the rail line into the community remained intact.
This allowed Manitoba Hydro to ship in the two large generators to temporarily restore the power.
“A lot of people worked really hard to make this happen,” said Cyril Patterson, Manitoba Hydro’s director of rural operations.
“There’s lots left to do out there, but we’re happy community members can go home while we finish the job.”
The two 1,500 kV generators, which are far too large to be flown in, are being continuously monitored and refuelled while crews work to repair Pukatawagan’s normal power supply.
“Being in our Treaty Six territory is the comfort of home…we feel settled,” said Bighetty
To complete repairs, crews will get to work setting poles in and around steep cliffs, marsh, and rock — a difficult task complicated by access issues.
Many of the materials required to restore power, including poles, spools of power lines, insulators, guy wires, specialized vehicles, transformers, fuel, etc., arrived in the community on the same train as the generators — which was 27 cars long.