TORONTO, Sept. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - Hydro One, the Métis Nation of Ontario
(MNO) and Conservation Halton announced today that they will partner on
a project to establish 25 hectares of upland forest in the Glenorchy
Conservation Area in the Town of Oakville as part of Hydro One's Bruce
to Milton Biodiversity Initiative.
The initiative will expand the existing adjacent forest associated with
Sixteen Mile Creek and will replicate its natural topography, habitats
and ecological functions, creating a contiguous green space for local
wildlife. Tree species planted as part of this project include Sugar
Maple, American Beech, and various species of Oak, Hickory and Ash.
Traditional Métis values and knowledge are a key part of establishing
the upland forest. As such, Conservation Halton and the MNO will
establish a working group to identify and select species for the upland
forest that are significant for ceremonial and medicinal uses. Métis
community members and elders will provide direction and advice ensuring
those species selected are important to the broader community.
The Biodiversity Initiative is an innovative mitigation approach that
will create and enhance natural habitat in partnership with First
Nations and Métis communities, and community-based organizations. The
initiative shifts the Company's focus from its traditional compensation
approach of "area for area" replacement of woodlots when constructing
new high-voltage transmission lines. Hydro One was recognized by the
Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) for this Biodiversity Initiative
receiving the CEA 2009 Environmental Commitment Award.
"We are very proud of the Biodiversity Initiative and the opportunity it
provides us to enhance the natural habitat and give back to communities
as we modernize the electricity transmission system," said Laura
Formusa, President and CEO, Hydro One Inc. "Partnering with the MNO
and Conservation Halton means that community values are reflected in
the mitigation process, helping to ensure success while making sure
Hydro One can deliver the electricity Ontario needs."
"Hydro One and MNO have been working closely for the past three years on
the Bruce to Milton Project and we are extremely proud of the strong
relationship we have developed. Hydro One's unique approach to
biodiversity has enabled MNO to partner with Conservation Halton and
collaborate on what promises to be a groundbreaking biodiversity
initiative. This is the first of its kind for the MNO, and we are very
proud to share this success with Hydro One and Conservation Halton,"
said Gary Lipinski, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario.
The engagement protocol signed between Hydro One and the MNO for the
Bruce to Milton Project was the first of its kind in the energy
industry and the Biodiversity Initiative continues to lead the way.
"Conservation Halton is delighted to be working in partnership with
Hydro One and the Métis Nation of Ontario on this important project to
help restore biodiversity in Glenorchy. It will be designed to
reproduce the natural topography of the area, through the creation of
pits and mounds in the forest floor. This is key to restoring a
diverse and resilient ecosystem," said John Vice, Chair of Conservation
Halton. "The innovative technique will also significantly increase
breeding habitat that is essential for the survival of many salamander
and frog species that are native to this area."
This year, seven partners will receive funding from Hydro One to
implement 22 locally-designed biodiversity initiatives. These projects
will help restore and enhance approximately 380 hectares of habitat and
ensure there is net gain of woodlot and wildlife habitat within the
four watersheds crossed by the new transmission line. Approximately 280
hectares of woodlots will be removed to enable construction of the
Bruce to Milton Project.
The Bruce to Milton Project received Ontario Energy Board section 92
Leave to Construct approval on September 15, 2008 and Environmental
Assessment approval on December 16, 2009. This new 180 kilometre
double-circuit 500 kV transmission line from Kincardine to Milton will
transfer more than 3,000 megawatts of clean and renewable power from
the Bruce area to southern Ontario. This project represents the largest
expansion to Ontario's transmission system in 20 years. The new line is
planned to be in-service in December 2012.
For more information on the Biodiversity Projects and partners please
Hydro One delivers electricity safely, reliably and responsibly to homes
and businesses across the province of Ontario and owns and operates
Ontario's 29,000 km high-voltage transmission network that delivers
electricity to large industrial customers and municipal utilities, and
a 123,000 km low-voltage distribution system that serves about 1.3
million end-use customers and smaller municipal utilities in the
province. Hydro One is wholly owned by the Province of Ontario.
The MNO represents the Métis people and Métis communities within Ontario
through a province-wide governance structure at the local, regional and
provincial levels. For more information on the MNO as well as its
framework for government and companies to consult with Métis
communities in Ontario visit www.metisnation.org
Conservation Halton is the community based environmental agency that
protects, restores and manages the natural resources in its watershed.
The organization has staff that includes ecologists, land use planners,
engineers, foresters and educators along with a network of volunteers
who are guided by a Board of Directors comprised of municipally elected
and appointed citizens. Conservation Halton is recognized for its
stewardship of creeks, forests and Niagara Escarpment lands through
science based programs and services.