NorSask Forest Products’ sawmill has long been a source of pride – not to mention revenue – for the nine First Nations of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC). After all, it’s the only First Nation sawmill in Canada owned by First Nations and a good example of effective resource management. But there’s always been an issue that takes a bit of the shine off MLTC’s success: waste.
“All the waste from the sawmill is incinerated in our old beehive burner,’’ says MLTC Cree Vice-Chief Richard Derocher. “It’s a waste of energy and not friendly to the environment.’’
Derocher says MLTC leaders identified the problem years ago and began searching for an affordable fix. In 2009, the Tribal Council began working with the Government of Saskatchewan to find a green solution to replace the old burner but plans didn’t materialize. Several years ago, the stars aligned in the form of federal and provincial infrastructure initiatives including funding for green energy projects.