Blind River repays $4 million CMHC loan

The payment is part of a $49.5 million CMHC loan in 2010 that the city took out as an investor in Plasco Conversion Technologies Inc.

The Town of Blind River has just completed a $4 million prepayment to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to reduce its long-term debt that is not due until April 2037. The payment is not not generated by the taxpayer.

The payment is part of a $49.5 million CMHC loan in 2010 that the city took out as an investor in the former Plasco Energy Group, which was renamed Omni Conversion Technologies Inc. The original loan was part of a federal government municipal infrastructure loan program.

“It’s basically like a mortgage,” Mayor Sally Hagman said. “By now repaying $4 million on the loan that is due in 2037, we are significantly reducing the amount owed on the lump sum payment.”

The announcement of the payment was released in a press release by the city’s chief clerk, Katie Scott, on Friday.

“This is an important milestone in Blind River’s history. The Mayor and Council have been through turbulent times since 2010, but the page has turned and we are confident we are on the right track,” Mayor Hagman said.

The payment was made from the revenues of North Shore Power Group (NSPG). NSPG is city-owned and operates a solar panel facility that sells electricity to the province.

Since 2011, NSPG has built a portfolio of 124 solar power projects across Ontario, from Ottawa to Rainy River, with a total installed capacity of 4.34 megawatts.

Revenue from its combined operations enabled NSPG to issue this prepayment, in addition to paying Blind River regular annual base loan payments.

“North Shore Power Group’s activities include the administration of its 2011 investment in Plasco. Plasco Conversion Technologies Inc. changed its name to Omni Conversion Technologies Inc. on January 1, 2021. Over the past year, a massive shift in market sentiment towards a carbon neutral economy has occurred. There is renewed interest in OMNI’s technology, and the company has assembled a group of strong financial sponsors and strategic partners,” the press release reads.

In April 2021, Omni Conversion Technologies entered into an agreement with the Larsen-Lam Climate Change Foundation to sell its first business unit for US$35 million.

On December 17, 2021, Omni Conversion Technologies entered into a debt restructuring agreement. Under this agreement, provided Omni meets its obligations, NSPG will receive sufficient funds to repay its entire loan to the Town of Blind River and therefore the remaining CMHC borrowings.

“Omni technology has the potential to make a significant environmental difference in this world. As such, it aligns with our cleantech business strategy. It seems Omni’s time has come as the world tackles climate change. Everyone within our power company wishes them well as we continue to focus on our mandate to produce green power for the benefit of our community,” said Graeme Lowry, President and Chief management of NSPG.

Graeme Lowry will be presenting on North Shore Power Group and OMNI Conversion Technologies at the Town of Blind River Information Session scheduled for February 15, 2022.

For more information on how to connect to the Zoom link for the briefing, visit the Town of Blind River website.

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