Provincial Minister of Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan was in the Lakeland with Chief Bernice Martial of the Cold Lake First Nations to announce that the nation is installing solar panels on several buildings.
The project is coming about due to a new provincial grant program designed to help Indigenous communities reduce their energy bills, create local jobs and participate in the emerging green economy.
“Cold Lake First Nations is proud to begin a journey towards a lower carbon economy in partnership with the province,” said Martial. “All of us in government have a duty to protect the lands and climate change is a clear and present danger. Climate change threatens our lands, water, fish, plants and ultimately our entire livelihood. We must all come together to solve the problem.
“We know that these measures will not only assist with climate change overall, but will also assist the quality of life of the elders who have roofs on which these panels sit.”
In addition to elder homes, the panels are also planned to be installed on the administration building as well as the school. The new panels are expected to save the First Nation 6,000 dollars in utilities a year over twenty five years. Installation is expected to begin in November and more buildings might be converted to solar in the coming years.
The solar panel project will receive a grant of approximately 200,000 dollars. Cold Lake First Nations will contribute nearly 50,000 to the project.