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WATER SECURITY IS THE FUTURE OF GITGA'AT POWER

Moving from Concept to Reality

The Nation is taking action to secure its future. After many years of planning by multiple stakeholder groups, the Clean Energy and Water Security Projects are moving from concept to reality.

In 2014, BC Hydro became the community’s electric utility. By relying on diesel for electricity, BC Hydro and the community face several issues, including fluctuating fuel cost impacts, potential fuel shortages, local and planetary greenhouse gas emissions, negative health impacts, and escalating environmental risks in the event of a local or barge spill. Diesel is a non-local, non-renewable energy source that jeopardizes the community’s energy security.

In 2022, the Federal Government agreed to secure Hartley Bay’s future protecting from drought. Since then, we have been working to establish a road and a weir/dam to ensure Hartley Bay never runs out of water.

MOVING FORWARD WITH WATER SUPPLY & A CLEANER ENERGY SOURCE

Sustainable Resource Management for Generations

The Gitga’at Nation has practiced sustainable resource management for countless generations. The principles that guide how the Nation manages land and marine resources also apply to energy. 


Hartley Bay’s home watershed has the ability to secure water and provide clean energy for the foreseeable future.


To align with community goals relating to climate, energy security, environmental protection, and economic development, years of work conducted by many stakeholder groups concluded that community-level hydro would be the best way to move forward with clean energy generation and supply.


The Nation has been planning to transition from diesel to more sustainable energy sources for over two decades. There were many reasons for the desired switch, and pollution is at the top.

A SUSTAINABLE PATH TO CLEAN AIR, PRISTINE WATERS, AND RELIABLE POWER

United by Tradition, Guided by Science

Real stewardship means securing a clean, local, independent, and reliable water and energy source.

The Nation’s reliance on fossil fuels creates a dilemma and serious questions. How does the Gitga’at Nation practice environmental protection following cultural stewardship traditions while burning diesel to create electricity? 

Awareness about the need for alternative solutions started decades earlier during the Great Blackout on a cold October night in 1975, but subsequent efforts stalled. In 1978, after a pre-feasibility study, DIAND said the projected $1 million was too much—diesel was cheaper.

A clear path forward revealed itself through a research and analysis process that started in 2001, with a Gitga’at member planning meeting led by the Pembina Institute. By then, it was clear that local clean energy based on hydro resources could provide an opportunity to transition to a more sustainable future.

ADVANCING THE COMMUNITY WITH A CLEAN POWER PROJECT

Moving Toward a Promising Future

A community-level hydroelectric project is a massive undertaking and requires extensive research, consultation, and planning with multiple stakeholders before approval. 

After deciding to go forward, the work on the ground eventually begins. A major project milestone for the Nation is the creation of a weir with a dam and controls at the outlet of the Upper Gabion Lake. A road is required to facilitate the construction and maintenance of the weir and any work related to raising the lake level. The activity relating to infrastructure creation, including roads, bridges, the dam, and any required buildings, results in various opportunities for the local community, including employment.  

BUILDING ECONOMIC CAPACITY POWERED BY CLEAN ENERGY

Business and Job Opportunities Related to the Dam Project

For Gitga’at, this dam is more than just a water barrier. It symbolizes reconciliation in action—moving forward together toward opportunity. The Water Security and Hydroelectric Projects will create significant employment opportunities in project management, environmental and construction monitoring, and construction. These jobs enable Gitga’at members to earn a good living and gain valuable experience that may apply to other industries and infrastructure projects in the north, including the LNG Canada project. Economic spinoffs from the project will also benefit vendors, contractors, and the local communities.

Once hydroelectricity is produced, there will be a few good-paying, high-quality jobs within the Gitga’at Development Corporation / Gitga’at Power Ltd. (GPL) in system maintenance and power corporation operations.

The Hydroelectric Project will also provide a local, secure, reliable, clean, and safe energy source. This supports the larger community infrastructure objectives and will help the Nation to further open its territory for sustainable stewardship, resource harvesting, tourism, and economic development initiatives. As the Nation is looking to expand its portfolio of joint ventures and wholly owned businesses through Gitga’at Development Corporation, clean energy may help to secure additional investment in the area. 

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