MLA says Whatì ‘tired of talk,’ wants to be connected to Snare Hydro grid

Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty says the community is "tired of talk" and wants upgrades to their power infrastructure. (GNWT image)

Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty says the community of Whatì is “confused” over the lack of progress in updating its power infrastructure.

In the Legislative Assembly yesterday, Jackson highlighted a recent winter power outage that lasted over 20 hours.

“The culprit was the community’s dated diesel generators,” Lafferty said.

The MLA said the government needs to upgrade its power generation by hooking them up to the Snare Hydro grid.

“There is sad irony in all of this,” said Lafferty.

“Whatì is the closest community in the entire territory to the Snare Hydro complex. It’s right around the corner.”

Yellowknife, by comparison, is hooked up to the Snare Hydro grid but is four times further away, he said. The hydro facility provides power to Yellowknife, Behchokǫ̀ and Dettah.

Jackson asked for a status update on getting Whatì hooked up to the grid.

Diane Archie, minister of the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, said the government is “advancing planning, consulting and engaging for activities which involve the construction of a 60-kilometre transmission line which will replace diesel generation.”

She said the GNWT is currently consulting with the Tłı̨chǫ Government and are meeting this week for the creation of a working group.

Lafferty said the community is “tired of the talk” and has been waiting 20 years for advancing power projects.

“There needs to be an action-oriented approach by government,” Lafferty said.

Archie said the government is currently trying to finalize routing with the Tłı̨chǫ Government. Then technical work will be completed to determine the cost of the project.

“We’re not there yet in figuring what the actual cost may be,” she said.

The minister said she is hoping that routing assessments of the transmission line will continue and the GNWT can put a funding application with the federal government in the next 12 months.

On April 17, Archie will be travelling to meet with the Tłı̨chǫ Government in Behchokǫ̀ to discuss the Whatì access road, Highway 3 safety concern, Slave Geological Province Corridor, Whatì transmission line and Gamètì mini-hydro system.

About the Author

Brett McGarry
Brett is a digital and broadcast reporter for CKLB Radio. He has been living in Yellowknife since January of 2019 after moving from Ontario. He graduated from Humber College and has worked for NNSL Media. You can reach him at