Construction of the East-West Tie Line Project, a 450-km, double-circuit transmission line, is now back underway in Ontario, Canada. On the project, Valard will provide comprehensive construction services, including project management, material management, construction permitting and the construction of double circuit 230-kV transmission line connecting Hydro One’s Wawa Transformer Station, Marathon Transformer Station and Lakehead Transformer Station.
As Duke Austin, Quanta’s president and CEO, said back in 2017, Quanta is proud to have been selected by NextBridge for this critical project, which is designed to enhance the long-term reliability of the electricity supply in northwestern Ontario.
"We have a long track record of safely and cost-effectively executing large electric transmission projects in Canada and look forward to applying our expertise to this project," Austin says. "Further, the project is expected to create up to 700 jobs during construction and provide additional economic benefits to the local community through the purchase of goods and services necessary to support operations.”
Adam Budzinski, president and CEO of Valard Construction, says on behalf of Valard management, he is pleased to see the restart of the project.
"I look forward to completing it safely with the help of our Indigenous and community partners – we anticipate a project that is a win/win/win for all stakeholders," Budzinski says.
Following the restart of the project, Valard and NextBridge Infrastructure will continue to work closely with Supercom Industries, a 100% Aboriginal-owned joint venture by the six First Nations proximate to the East-West Tie transmission line, to hire qualifying candidates from the First Nation communities.
For example, Valard hired Dominic Chasse, Tyler Bruyere and Billy Joe Sayers as ground laborers and then promoted them to sponsored apprentices in the powerline technician trade. To prepare them for work on the East-West Tie Transmission Project in Ontario, Valard and Supercom (First Nations partnership) brought the three men to Alberta in May 2018 to learn and work on its WFMAC transmission project.
“This opportunity has been a great success, says Chasse of Michipicoten First Nation. "I never thought of getting into a red seal trade before and am so glad to be able to do so through Valard. I’m now going to be able to do the things that I want to do. Being a powerline technician gives me pride, knowing that people will be provided with the energy that they need in order to progress.”
Bruyere, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation, says the opportunity changed his life 100%.
“ I can now support me and my son while having an amazing career for the rest of my life," he says. "This is just the start of the path to success, and that’s why I’m here to succeed with Valard. Being a powerline apprentice means everything to me because this is my lifestyle: I love the work I do and knowing how much I’m learning with Valard. I feel I am where I am supposed to be in life.”
Also, Sayers of Batchewana First Nation says being a powerline technician is something he has always wanted to do.
"Coming from a powerline family myself had a big role in that," he says. "I’m also doing this for my mother who is battling cancer. She’s with me every step of the way. She’s my inspiration. This career will provide the things I want in life and my future family – I wouldn’t want anything more than that. My impression of Valard Construction is great. From the staff at the office to the guys out in the line, it’s all one great happy family. I’m happy where I am, and I’ll be happy to retire as a Valard Construction worker. Great company. I love it.”