09 May 2024

Québec Government Approves Agreement Between Innus D'Unamen Shipu and Hydro-Québec

09 May 2024  by waterpowermagazine   
In a significant stride toward reconciliation, the Government of Québec has greenlit the Mishta Uashat Lac-Robertson Agreement between the Conseil des Innus d’Unamen Shipu and Hydro-Québec. This accord, aimed at fostering mutual respect and trust, marks a pivotal moment in resolving lingering disputes surrounding the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Lac-Robertson generating station in Québec's Côte-Nord region.

The signing ceremony on 6 May, attended by Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Relations with the First Nations and the Inuit, alongside Raymond Bellefleur, Chief of Unamen Shipu, and Michael Sabia, President and CEO of Hydro-Québec, underscored the collaborative efforts to forge a sustainable and harmonious relationship. Kateri Champagne Jourdain, Minister of Employment and Minister Responsible for the Côte-Nord Region, was also present to commemorate the occasion.

The Lac-Robertson generating station has been embroiled in legal battles and community grievances, particularly from the Unamen Shipu community. The newly ratified agreement formalizes a commitment from both parties to establish a mutually beneficial, enduring partnership grounded in respect, cooperation, and trust.

As per the terms, Hydro-Québec will disburse a total of $32 million to the Conseil des Innus d’Unamen Shipu through annual payments spread over 23 years. These funds will empower the community to address its priorities and pursue initiatives that enhance its well-being.

Ministers and officials expressed optimism regarding the agreement's transformative potential.

“In signing this historic agreement with the community of Unamen Shipu, we are taking a major step towards reconciliation and working together to build a better future and better relations, as we have also recently done with the community of Pessamit. Today, we are joining forces with the community of Unamen Shipu to help improve the quality of life of its members,” commented Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Relations with the First Nations and the Inuit.

“The Mishta Uashat Lac-Robertson Agreement settles the Unamen Shipu community’s past grievances. The Council will invest most of the funds in solutions to meet the needs of the community,” added Raymond Bellefleur, Chief of Unamen Shipu,

Michael Sabia, President and CEO of Hydro-Québec, commented: “This agreement with Unamen Shipu is based on two fundamental principles of economic reconciliation. First, it’s a step towards acknowledging and settling past grievances. And second, it creates a source of revenues that the community can invest in its own priorities in the years to come.”

The Lac-Robertson development encompasses a 21MW hydropower generating station on the Rivière Ha! Ha! in the Côte-Nord region, complemented by a 4.8MW diesel power plant, infrastructure, and transmission systems supplying the villages of La Tabatière, Blanc-Sablon, Saint-Augustin and Vieux-Fort. Lac-Robertson generating station is not connected to Hydro-Québec’s main transmission grid. It supplies nearby communities, as well as others along the Labrador coast of the Strait of Belle Isle.


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