At the end of January, 2019, Bruce Power signed a supplier agreement with a new, locally-based, First Nation owned joint business venture, Makwa Development Corp., to prove construction services to Bruce Power, as part of the company’s on-going investment program.
Makwa Development Corp. is owned by Nawash residents Scott Lee and Shane Chegahno and the company has joined forces with Tron, a construction company based on Saskatchewan’s English River First Nation that brings extensive experience working in Canada’s nuclear sector.
Tron and Makwa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that creates a fully First Nation owned venture with experience in the nuclear sector with a goal of maximizing local Indigenous employment.
“The Makwa-Tron joint venture will be 100 per cent First Nation owned, “said Lee. ‘It will be located on the Nawash First Nation and will hopefully create immediate opportunities and benefits for both the Nawash and Saugeen First Nations and their respective Band members. Our hope is that our community members as well as businesses owned by community members will be able to derive benefit from the coming decades of Bruce Power operations in SON Territory (Saugeen Ojibway Nation).
Bruce Power’s President and CEO, Mike Rencheck, said that the Makwa-Tron joint venture will provide Bruce Power with a variety of services during the Life-Extension Program. Tron’s experience ranges from infrastructure and utilities construction to electrical and instrumentation installation, as well as vessel fabrication, among other disciplines.
“Bruce Power is committed to developing wealth-creation solutions for Indigenous peoples on a number of fronts, and these types of business partnerships are a key element to achieving this,” said Rencheck. “This joint venture will provide community members with excellent jobs and give Bruce Power the skillsets we require to advance our investment program.”
The Hon. Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Mines, Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Ontario, lauded the partnership and the many benefits it will generate. “It’s very encouraging to see this collaboration between Bruce Powers, Makwa Developments and Tron/Des Nedhe Development. These are the types of partnerships that support economic development, create good jobs and provide opportunities for First Nation communities to share in Ontario’s prosperity.
Des Nedhe Development began as a company in 1991 as an economic development vehicle for the English River First Nation and has grown steadily through partnerships and sound community leadership. The company manages a broad and secure portfolio of successful companies in the resource, construction, supply, manufacturing, communications and real estate sectors.
President and CEO of Des Nedhe, Sean Willy, says that it is through community foresight and planning that the company has been forging new paths. “We are building on traditional values and an entreprenurial spirit, while delivering opportunities that add value for our customers and our people. It has become on of the leading Indigenous economic development organizations in the country.”