Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corp. (SNGRDC) have successfully closed $31 million in refinancing for the 230 MW Niagara Region Wind Farm. The 77-turbine wind farm was developed by Boralex Inc. and is the second largest in Ontario by installed capacity.
The loan from VCIB refinances a portion of SNGRDC’s 50% ownership stake in the wind farm and is one of 20 projects in the SNGRDC portfolio providing a revenue stream for the Six Nations community through the sale of electricity to the Ontario grid. This financing illustrates the benefits of Indigenous participation in Ontario’s clean energy economy. Through the SNGRDC, profits are invested in critical infrastructure and grassroots projects for the Six Nations community through a transparent, community-led application-based process administered by the Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Trust.
“The savings brought about through this refinancing will directly enhance our ability to fund our community priorities, all of which are geared to the collective benefit of the entire Six Nations community”, says Matt Jamieson, president and CEO of SNGRDC. “We greatly appreciate the support from Ontario’s Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program and are looking forward to a long-term relationship with Vancity Community Investment Bank.”
The refinancing demonstrates the role that public-private financing partnerships can play in advancing community economic development. A $23 million guarantee by the Province of Ontario through its Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program enabled VCIB to provide a larger loan on advantageous terms, which will position SNGRDC to direct more funds back to the community.
“Supporting Indigenous economic development is one of the pillars of VCIB’s values-driven approach,” states Vince Gasparro, managing director of clean energy financing at VCIB. “We’re pleased to partner with SNGRDC and the OFA to find a creative financing solution that benefits the Six Nations community and advances Canada’s net-zero transition.”
Since 2016, SNGRDC has invested over $12 million of surplus profits back into the Six Nations of the Grand River community. Projects have included the installation of watermains, the purchase of fire trucks and fire equipment, and also grassroots initiatives like Rekindling Our Fires Suicide Prevention awareness, The Golden Spoon elders outreach program and Two Row on the Grand Cultural Programming.
“Building critical infrastructure, including energy infrastructure, is part of our plan to drive Ontario’s economic recovery and prosperity,” comments Ontario Minister of Finance Honorable Peter Bethlenfalvy. “I am pleased that the Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program has supported this refinancing transaction that will further economic development opportunities for the Six Nations community.”