By Maria Church
The development commission of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island in Ontario is considering building a pellet plant in Nairn Centre.
The Ontario government has provided $100,000 for the First Nation to produce an economic development plan for a proposed 150,000-tonne pellet plant, which would provide the community with a reliable source of heating pellets.
Nikki Manitowabi, business development specialist advisor for the Wikwemikong Development Commission, discussed the community’s recent bioheat project at the Wood Pellet Association of Canada conference in Ottawa in September. Three community buildings and 98 homes have been converted to wood pellet heating. Another five community buildings and 42 homes are expected to convert in the next year.
Manitowabi said the project has led to new employment in the community, greenhouse gas reductions, and support for Northern Ontario businesses. “There was a lot of education and training to get our community to be a pilot, and they are very proud of that,” she said.
In 2015, wood pellet project consulting company FutureMetrics produced a feasibility analysis for a new pellet manufacturing facility in Narin Centre for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.