General Manager, Kasabonika Lake Community Development Corporation
Mitchell Diabo is the Projects Manager at the Kasabonika Lake Community Development Corporation. He describes himself as “running point on energy” with an active involvement in the community’s attempts to reduce their dependence on diesel. “We get no petroleum products by road in the winter, which means we have to fly them in at much higher cost,” Mitchell says.
The solution has involved developing a portfolio of energy solutions: solar PV and wind turbines in addition to diesel. “I see energy not as necessary infrastructure but as an economic foundation. It opened up a lot of opportunity for growth: we built buildings that created business opportunities, jobs and hope - right down to a planned youth centre that will give our young people something to do,” he says.“Energy is always an economic foundation.”
The highest priority for the Kasabonika Lake community is protecting its environment. “There is a strong culture of trapping, hunting and fishing here, and they don’t want that impaired,” Mitchell says. That’s why their energy programs have to fully involve members of the community. “We are owners, and planners, developers and designers. Full participation is mandatory, as is ownership.”
At the Summit, Mitchell is looking forward to profiting from the lessons other communities have learned, and understanding what other solutions are being considered.