The City of Saskatoon has unveiled plans to build a hydropower station at the weir on the South Saskatchewan River.
An agreement is being signed between the city and the Saskatoon Tribal Council to jointly own the power facility, which will cost up to $62.1 million.
The project is expected to be funded by the STC and private sector partners.
“First Nations can benefit from employment, training and education opportunities that extend beyond the construction phase of this project,” Darrell Balkwill, Chair of STC Investments Inc., said in a statement.
“We are confident that the investment returns from this project will allow us to continue to support community infrastructure and social programs in our member communities.”
Depending on final design approvals, the station is expected to be able to power between 2,400 to 3,500 homes in the city each year.
Saskatoon Light and Power may be able to sell some of the electricity to SaskPower, as the hydro would contribute to their 50 per cent clean energy goal.
The facility is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21,120 tonnes.
Preliminary plans call for the weir to be raised to allow riverwater to flow kinetically through the hydropower apparatus. Renders show a pedestrian walkway crossing the river over the weir, along with a bypass for fish and other aquatic life.
The city conducted an environmental and technical study on the possibility of a hydroelectric facility back in 2009, when conditions were placed on any potential project.
They confirm in a FAQ on their website those findings are still valid, and the conditions remain in place.
The FAQ also notes concern over the pelicans that frequent the weir, saying the “health and well-being” of the birds will be “protected and enhanced.”
There’s currently no timeline on the project.