*CORRECTION: This version of the story makes clear that the federal government hasn’t committed financing but its Crown corporation is assisting in planning and development of the proposed project.
Canada Infrastructure Bank, a Crown corporation, announced Wednesday that it’s prepared to help arrange financing for a $1.6-billion hydroelectric line and broadband fibre-optic project that will serve five Kivalliq communities and the mining sector.
The 1,200-kilometre, 150-megawatt hydro transmission line will stretch from Gillam, Man., reducing the region’s reliance on shipped-in diesel.
Canada Infrastructure Bank will work with the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA), Sakku Investments Corporation, Anbaric Development Partners and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to complete the initiative.
In addition to supplying environmentally sustainable energy, the project will provide high-speed broadband internet to residents, businesses and public services.
The KIA has projected that the hydro line will result in a 50 per cent reduction in power supply costs for the Qulliq Energy Corporation in the five communities served — Baker Lake, Rankin Inlet, Arviat, Chesterfield Inlet and Whale Cove. It also anticipates internet download speeds will be 3,000 times faster.
Kono Tattuinee, president of the Kivalliq Inuit Association, said, “Inuit are proud to be driving this transformative, national infrastructure project. Together we are creating something that will bring lasting economic and environmental benefits to Nunavut and all of Canada.”
Canada Infrastructure Bank has $35 billion to invest and has a mandate to also attract private-sector investment. The Winnipeg Free Press reported that the proponents have a goal of supplying power to Rankin Inlet by 2026.