Accommodating the needs of the communities they were working with would prove essential for building trust among all parties, especially given the track record of previous infrastructure projects in the Yukon. On a project where everyone had to work together and no time could be wasted, it was important to keep everyone at the table not just talking, but developing solutions.
“The primary benefit we saw working with InterGroup was that they brought a different perspective to the project,” says Campbell. “InterGroup is made up of scientists and social-economic experts, so the perspective and innovative solutions that they brought were very valuable to the process. That really showed up in overcoming some of the impasses that we encountered in our negotiations because the conventional approach wasn’t working.”
Campbell says that InterGroup’s propensity for out-of-the box thinking was even of value in getting the project started in the first place, as it was InterGroup that would show how a power purchase agreement with Capstone Mining could become the cornerstone for securing other needed financing.
“This project faced some notable challenges. It took some pretty innovative thinking to first make the economics work, then to get three First Nations on side, and finally to get the governments to contribute as well. InterGroup were the architects of the power agreement with the mine, which gave the project a very large economic boost and the reason it had to happen now, or not at all.”
In the end, Campbell says that the CSTP proved to be a win-win proposition for all involved. First, the new transmission line means that both a mine and a community can now draw electrical power from the grid, rather than relying on less environmentally friendly and more costly diesel generated power. Finally, Yukon Energy realized its vision of a unified grid, which will benefit Yukon ratepayers for years to come. Not bad for a project that was completed in record time.
“One of the reasons we continue to go back to the well time after time with InterGroup is their ability to meet deadlines under incredibly stressful and impossible schedules,” says Campbell. “I don’t know how they do it, but I can’t think of a single time when they haven’t delivered an application or a draft agreement that we have needed for a meeting the next day. They have an extremely dedicated team of individuals that are prepared to work unbelievable hours if required by the client. I’ve never seen that with any other consultant that I’ve worked with in 20 years.”