DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Construction has begun on a project to connect 780 Scugog Island homes and 30 businesses, with natural gas services. The project officially kicked off at an announcement, held at the Enbridge construction office on Scugog Island, on Friday, March 6th. The Ontario Energy Board recently approved the project. “I’m thrilled to announce work has officially begun in constructing a new natural gas reinforcement and distribution pipeline on Scugog Island, expected to be in service by the end of 2020,” Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy, told those in attendance. The first phase of the province’s Natural Gas Expansion Program will provide part of the funding for the project. “The $16 million expansion project wouldn’t be possible without the support of the government of Ontario, from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) and the Township of Scugog,” Jim Sanders, Enbridge Gas’ Senior Vice President of Operations said, “We are thrilled to be breaking ground on the Scugog Island project.” According to a press release from the province of Ontario, because of this project, the “average household [on] Scugog Island could save $800 to $2,500 per year, in energy costs.” “Construction underway and shovels in the ground show the dream of access to natural gas, will very soon be a felt reality for families and businesses here,” Durham MPP Lindsey Park said. With pipeline projects, a controversial subject on Indigenous lands, MSIFN Chief Kelly LaRocca made a statement, “The decision of Scugog First Nation to support the natural gas project is one that is based on economic self-sustainability and the economic prosperity for the Great Blue Heron casino. We recognize the need to do business, and in turn, that business supports our community’s development and health and well-being.” Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew was excited about the announcement. “For many years, Township of Scugog council has been advocating for better community services, like high-speed internet and natural gas, to provide our community with affordable services and modern choices for rural residents. Today we thank the province and Enbridge for the Natural Gas expansion program. We celebrate that the construction is underway, and very soon people and businesses, on Scugog Island, will have the opportunity to connect to natural gas,” she shared.