Hydro One has selected a contractor to build the Waasigan Transmission Line.

Manitoba-based Valard Construction will handle the engineering, procurement and construction phases.

“With their strong history of building electrical infrastructure projects in Ontario, we are confident that Valard is well positioned to design, build and deliver the Waasigan Transmission Line,” says Andrew Spencer, Executive Vice President for Capital Portfolio Delivery, Hydro One, in a release issued.

“Working closely with Indigenous communities, local businesses and Hydro One, we will further strengthen the local economy and build necessary infrastructure to benefit all of northwestern Ontario," adds President of Valard, Carey Kostyk.

Plans call for a double-circuit 230-kilovolt line between Hydro One's Lakehead Transformer Station in Shuniah to the Mackenzie station in Atikokan and a single-circuit line between Atikokan and Dryden.

Last week, the Independent Electricity System Operator gave support to building the line.

"As demand for electricity is expected to grow by nearly two per cent per year for the next 20 years in Ontario, it is absolutely critical that we work together to get the necessary infrastructure built in time to meet those emerging needs. The Waasigan Transmission Line will lay the groundwork so that communities, businesses and Indigenous peoples in the northwest have a reliable supply of electricity that supports economic growth," says Lesley Gallinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Electricity System Operator.

Nine First Nations also have a stake in the project.

A deal gave a 50 per cent stake to Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation and eight First Nation communities represented by Gwayakocchigewin LP. They include Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, Eagle Lake First Nation, Lac La Croix First Nation, Fort William First Nation, Seine River First Nation, Lac Seul First Nation, Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, and the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen.

Hydro One says it will continue its work with its First Nation partners and Valard to establish shared project values and expectations.

The project is currently undergoing an Environmental Assessment.

Construction could begin some time next year.