August 16, 2019 — Yuneŝit'in, BC — Indigenous Services Canada
The Government of Canada is working in partnership with First Nations to support community-driven economic development projects that will help build healthier, more sustainable communities.
Today, the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced funding of $1.7 million to support the construction of a one megawatt solar farm in Yuneŝit'in, BC. Called the Tŝilhqot'in Solar Farm, it will be the first large-scale solar farm owned and operated by a First Nation in western Canada.
The solar farm will provide sustainable revenue as well as ongoing employment for Tŝilhqot'in community members. It will also be a demonstration centre for clean energy and Indigenous training. Electricity generated by the solar farm will reinforce the local power grid and decrease the community's dependence on diesel generators.
This project, jointly funded through the Community Opportunity Readiness Program (CORP) of Indigenous Services Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada, helps Indigenous communities realize the full potential of economic opportunities.
"Community-driven projects like the Tŝilhqot'in Solar Farm contribute to the growth and well-being of the Tŝilhqot'in National Government, create jobs and build economic opportunities a truly prosperous Canada needs a strong Indigenous-built and Indigenous-led economy. Our government is proud to invest in projects like this and is committed to economic success for First Nations communities."
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services Canada
"The Tŝilhqot'in people have a long history of balancing economic resiliency and environmental stewardship in their traditional territory. By investing in the solar farm, the Government of Canada is helping the Tŝilhqot'in National Government develop an alternative energy solution that creates jobs and continues the tradition of sustainable growth in their communities."
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada
"The solar farm was conceptualized as simply an idea to generate power in the Tsilhqot'in. It has taken almost 5 years since it was first talked about and we have seen it develop in the past months. It is unique because it will be constructed by the Tsilhqot'in and owned by the Tsilhqot'in. It is one of the first solid projects to kickstart the sharing of benefits for all of our communities. I have been happy to see the evolution of this project, witnessed all the challenges along the way, and I am grateful for all the people and resourceful contributions that have made this project a success along the way."
Russell Myers Ross, Chief
The solar farm will be owned and operated by Dandzen Development Limited Partnership, the Economic Development Corporation of the Tŝilhqot'in National Government.
The Tŝilhqot'in National Government represents 3,500 First Nation members and is comprised of six communities in BC's central interior: Tl'etinqox, ʔEsdilagh, Yuneŝit'in, Tŝi Deldel, Tl'esqox and Xeni Gwet'in.
The solar farm is expected to generate $8 million over five years, create 32 full-time and 17 part-time jobs, initiate seven spin-off businesses, and provide skills training to 20 community members.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Seamus O'Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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