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New dam wins support from First Nation

A proposal to build a 250-MW hydroelectric plant on the Saskatchewan River received a boost from members of the James Smith Cree Nation.

In a recent referendum, about 96 percent of the First Nation members voted for the Pehonan project, Chief Wally Burns told CBC News.

“I was surprised,” Burns said. “A lot of our younger generation came out and voted, and it was overwhelming.”

The dam would be built across the Saskatchewan River where the North and South Saskatchewan rivers meet. The new dam will have little impact on the local ecosystem, said Andy McPhee, vice president of Brookfield Renewable Power, a project partner.

The plant is expected to begin commercial operations in about five years.

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