The MLA for Monfwi is calling for action, not talk, when it comes to improving the reliability of power in Whatì.
In the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Jackson Lafferty questioned the territory’s progress on connecting the Tłı̨chǫ community to the Snare Forks hydro system to replace its ailing diesel generators.
Last month, Lafferty queried the lack of a backup for those generators after a 20-hour rotating power outage left community members “freezing in the dark” on January 13 and 14.
“There is a sad irony in all of this,” he said. “Whatì is the closest community in the entire territory to the Snare hydro complex. It’s right around the corner, a mere 40 km away.
“Yellowknife, on the other hand, which is on the Snare hydro grid, is four times the distance.”
Last month, Diane Archie – the minister responsible for the territory’s power corporation – said the GNWT plans to replace one of three generators in the community in the next year. The power corporation also installed mid-line spacers, designed to reduce the likelihood of an outage, on an affected section of the power line responsible for January’s outage.
On Tuesday, Archie said the territory is now “advancing, planning, consulting and engaging” on the issue. That includes meeting with the Tłı̨chǫ Government this week to discuss the creation of a working group, she said.
Jackson said community members are “tired of the talks under way” and urged the territory to take action. He said more than 20 years had elapsed since the territorial government began talking about a mini-hydro initiative and, more recently, the transmission line.
“Twenty years versus 20 hours of power outage,” he said. “I for one would like for this government to act on what’s in the best interests of the community, and that is power hookup.”
Archie said the territory needs to complete technical work as part of a funding application to the federal government. She pledged to submit that application within the next 12 months.