Preparation and Prosperity

Located approximately 75 km northwest of Grande Prairie, AB, over approximately 3,099 hectares of land, the Horse Lake First Nation (HLFN) is a proud, respectful, and industrious community with a healthy spirit.

A small community of about 1,200 members, the Nation has made an economic impact far greater than its size. “Traditions and culture thrive, and self-sufficiency and independence are the foundation for a strong economy,” says Azar Kamran, Chief Executive Officer for Horse Lake First Nation

A major part of HLFN’s emergence as an employer, labour force, and service provider is training, a focus on clean energy, and community facilities that enable the Nation to grow economically. The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with First Nation communities to build water and wastewater facilities that will ensure improved and reliable access to clean water.

In 2018, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, congratulated HLFN on the opening of their new water treatment system. The new water treatment system in Horse Lake is critical to the community’s efforts to ensure future generations have access to clean water. The new system features dual media filtration, reverse osmosis membranes, and ultra-violet light radiation. Indigenous Services Canada invested $9.5 million to support construction and the system will meet all the Canadian drinking water quality guideline requirements.

“The water treatment has been a significant addition to the community, and is a vital source of clean water for the community,” says Kamran. “Since its opening, the community has decided to install solar power panels on the facility in an effort to further prioritize clean energy.”

The facility has made a significant impact on the community, adds Chief Ramona Horseman. “It has been a very big change in our water; it’s been like night and day,” says the Chief. “It is a very exciting and a positive change; we now know that our water is safe to drink. This was years in coming but we now know we have great water.”

Kamran points to solar panel installation on all major buildings in the community—not just the water facility. “Our goal is to open up our partnerships,” he says. “Some of the HLFN land will be rezoned to include industrial projects for our own community and others. KLFN is also investigating bio-projects with focus on programs in the coming months.”

Kamran is also excited about HLFN’s Pyrolysis machine, which is designed to bake chips in the absence of oxygen to manufacture biochar and pyroligneous acid. A greenhouse designed to grow algae and food, using technology where algae is harvested, put through a process of anaerobic digestion, bottled and sold as a bio-stimulant, is also in the stages of production, and will position HLFN in the bio-agricultural field.

HLFN is dedicated towards improving people and process efficiencies such that the organization achieves leadership status and becomes the organization of choice for customers and stakeholders. Kamran was brought into HLFN in early 2019 to give guidance and take direction from the Board of Directors. “In this role, I advise the Chief and Council on policy and legislative questions and referring policy matters to them for determination,” says Kamran.

“There are so many opportunities for HLFN, and especially for the youth,” he adds. “We host career fairs and companies come to HLFN to discuss work opportunities, and we are so excited with the momentum we are building here; you can feel it in the air.”