Renewables would boost First Nations’ support for mining in Ontario: poll

Renewables would boost First Nations’ support for mining in Ontario: poll

First Nations Pow-Wow, Manatoulin Island, Ontario.

A new poll among Northern Ontario First Nation community residents exploring their attitudes towards renewable energy and resource develop shows a high level of support for provincial government renewable energy and conservation initiatives.

The results, presented Thursday by Oraclepoll Research President Paul Seccaspina at the Renewables & Mining Summit and Exhibition, shows the communities are specially favourable to solar power, with more than 8 in 10 supporting the technology.

While 57% of the participants in the Northern Ontario First Nation Residents’ Perceptions on Energy and Mining supported government initiatives that promote renewable energy policies, a conclusive 71% believe the provincial government is not doing enough to promote renewable energy in First Nation communities.

Renewables would boost First Nations’ support for mining in Ontario: poll

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Only 25% of respondents viewed natural gas favourably. Nuclear was even less popular, with only 20% of support, which made it the technology least preferred by this group.

Hydroelectricity and wind both were positioned mid-pack and are seen as favourable by half of the respondents.

Renewables would boost First Nations’ support for mining in Ontario: poll

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Don Huff, President of Environmental Communication Options, who has worked closely with Oraclepoll for nearly twenty years, says the poll confirms that First Nation community residents have strong opinions on what was unacceptable to them.

“Not surprisingly, scenarios involving obvious community-focused benefits had the lowest levels of opposition. A notable result was the highest level of support for a new mine was attracted by the concept of using renewable energy at the mine," Huff said.

The research was conducted between September 26 and October 2, 2014 utilizing live person-to-person telephone calling to a random selected audience of First Nation community residents.

From the 200 respondents, only 8% lived in communities not connected to the Ontario electricity grid and rely on diesel generation for electricity.

The poll was commissioned by Environmental Communication Options, a firm actively engaged in a range of renewable, resource-focused and First Nation matters.