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Provincial Aboriginal Energy Conservation Program Launched in Thunder Bay

Tuesday, May 8th 2007 10:23:18am

Media Release - For Immediate Release - Photos Available

(Thunder Bay, May 8, 2007)  First Nations delegates from across Ontario came together today in Thunder Bay for a two-day Mana-cha-toon Wash-ti-ni-gun (Conserve the Light) Gathering. The Gathering is both a platform for education about electricity conservation in First Nations communities and the launch of a province-wide electricity conservation program for Ontario's aboriginal communities.

The Provincial Energy Efficiency & Conservation Measures for Aboriginal Communities (EEMAC) program, funded by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), will be rolled out to all 134 First Nations communities in Ontario.  Thunder Bay-based Charles Fox Consulting Inc. will implement the EEMAC program.

"Mana-cha-toon Wash-ti-ni-gun and the development of the Energy Conservation Kits are important steps," said Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse. "I am pleased the Gathering recognizes the needs of First Nations communities on the electricity grid and those that are dependent on diesel generators-this program serves both."

"The OPA is committed to electricity conservation and efficiency," Dr. Jan Carr, CEO of the Ontario Power Authority, told the Gathering.  "The OPA is working directly with First Nations communities on a range of issues including long-term systems planning. We are committed to ensuring that First Nations communities have access to the tools to participate in Ontario's growing culture of conservation, in a manner that complements First Nations values and heritages."

The Energy Conservation Kits will include easy-to-install compact florescent light (CFLs) bulbs, faucet aerators and other devices that will result in immediate reductions in energy use. The kits will be delivered this summer to all 23,000 on-reserve homes in the 134 communities.  In addition, five communities have been selected for a community energy retrofit pilot project, including Anishininaabeg of Naongashiling First Nation and Stanjikoming First Nation (both near Fort Frances), Slate Falls First Nation (near Sioux Lookout), and Sheshegwaning First Nation and Sheguiandah First Nation (both on Manitoulin Island).

The Conference was opened by a drum ceremony, followed by statements of welcome and greeting from Chief Harold Pelletier (Fort William First Nation), Mayor Lynn Peterson (Thunder Bay), Jan Carr (CEO of the Ontario Power Authority), Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse, Grand Chief Stan Beardy (Nishnawbe-Aski Nation), Grand Chief Arnold Gardner (Treaty #3), Tim Pile (M├ętis Nation of Ontario) and Deputy Grand Chief Glen Hare (Union of Ontario Indians).

"This Conserve the Light Gathering is the first of a four part program designed to promote and implement electricity conservation in Ontario's First Nations communities," said Charles Fox, Program Manager and Convener of the Gathering. "An important goal of this Gathering is to ensure the continuity and preservation of the culture of energy conservation in the aboriginal community."

He continued, "The Education & Awareness components are focused on educating youth on the importance of electricity conservation, and we intend to build this information into the aboriginal educational curriculum."


For more information, go to www.conservethelight.com, or contact:

Don Huff, ECO/Huff Strategy, (on-site) cell: 416-805-7720

Charles Fox, Charles Fox Consulting Inc.: 807-622-8008

Photos can be obtained by contacting Brent Kulba (ECO/Huff Strategy), 416-972-7401

In pursuit of its mandate of ensuring an adequate, long-term supply of electricity for Ontario, the Ontario Power Authority creates and implements conservation and demand management programs, ensures adequate investment in new supply infrastructure, performs long-term electricity system planning, and facilitates the development of a more sustainable and competitive electricity system.