Wind Farm for Gespe'gewa'gi Becomes a Reality

Wind Farm for Gespe’gewa’gi Becomes a Reality On behalf of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government we would like to send out our congratulations to the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat on their efforts on making this Wind Farm project become a reality. Over the course of several years this project has been a main priority of MMS and as of May 10, 2013 it has finally come to fruition.

A historic event for the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi as Quebec announces a 150 MW project for the Mi’gmaq. Gespeg, May 10, 2013 – The Mi’gmawei Mawiomi, representing the Mi’gmaq of Gesgapegiag, Gespeg and Listuguj wishes to express its most sincere gratitude to the Government of Québec for announcing the Mi’gmaq Wind Initiative today in Gespeg. This significant economic development measure provides the platform for the Mi’gmaq communities to develop a 150 MW wind farm which will be located within the MRC d’Avignon.

Since 2009, the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi consistently promoted its vision of a Mi’gmaq Wind Initiative that would foster Mi’gmaq economic and social development, improve services and build capacity amongst the three Mi’gmaq communities. With revenues generated from the sale of electricity over the next 20 years, this vision has now become a reality; a real measure towards Mi’gmaq self-determination.

“We are genuinely appreciative of the strong resolve and dedication towards the achievement of this project shown by Premier Pauline Marois, by Minister Martine Ouellette and by Minister Gaétan Lelièvre. The wind initiative is a momentous event for our three Mi’gmaq communities. We see great opportunities for the future, this initiative will provide us with resources to make strategic investments in our communities,” said Chief Claude Jeannotte, Chairperson of the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi.

The unique project located in a wind rich area of Gespe’gewa’gi, initiated by the Mi’gmaq is seen as a pivotal economic development initiative. The Mi’gmaq support regional development and continue to seek innovative ways to work with the surrounding municipalities, the CREGIM and the Government of Québec. Wind Energy has been providing economic benefits to the region and now the Mi’gmaq can actively contribute to the economy of the Gaspésie region, while providing greater services to their citizens.

The regional benefits from this project are far greater than any other wind farm in Gespe’gewa’gi. Creating up to 300 jobs during its 2-year construction period. Thoughout its 20-year operation period 10 direct jobs, and 100 indirect jobs will be created. In addition, the wind energy project will also support the wind power manufacturing activities on the Gaspésie during a period when the industry needed to fill their order books to maintain operations and jobs. The Mi’gmaq will earn the majority of revenues flowing from the sale of electricity. This is significant because the Mi’gmaq are known to make their purchases locally and they are a great stimulus to the local economies surrounding their communities.

The wind farm project is also a catalyst for Mi’gmaq participation in the Quebec construction industry, as over 100 Mi’gmaq trade people will join the sector by 2015. Leading up to the construction of the Mi’gmaq wind farm 52 Mi’gmaq will pursue vocational training. Also, the Construction Commission of Québec will qualify over 50 Mi’gmaq journeymen. The long-term economic benefits for the 100 Mi’gmaq workers are significant.

Chief Claude Jeannotte added: “We are truly pleased how Premier Pauline Marois, Minister Ouellette and Minister Lelièvre understood so empathetically how crucial this initiative is for our communities. With the revenues generated, we will gain greater control over our destiny, improve social cohesion in our communities and foster economic development for the Mi’gmaq and the region.”

The ability of the Mi’gmaq communities of Gesgapegiag, Gespeg and Listuguj, to think strategically and remain steadfast under a common vision and develop a project of this importance shows that the Mi’gmaq are serious, organized and able to be partners in economic development projects throughout Gespe’gewa’gi. During the development phase of this project, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada was very helpful by providing grants under various programs during the critical development phase of the project. The Mi’gmaq are very grateful to the Government of Canada for their investment in this initiative.

“Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. (TSX: INE), a leading Canadian independent renewable power producer, located in Longueuil, has been a great partner in this project. They were clearly part of the solution and we are happy to be in business with them. We wish to thank them with the utmost appreciation”, declared Chief Claude Jeannotte.

About Mi’gmawei Mawiomi The Mi’gmawei Mawiomi is a political body comprised of elected officials of the three(3) Mi’gmaq communities of Gesgapegiag, Gespeg and Listuguj, committed to creating an independent Mi’gmaq government based on a constitution that promotes and protects the freedoms, rights and well-being of the L’nu.