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LETTERS – embracing change


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Dear Editor, After listening to the news and reading about it in the Wreckhouse Weekly, and also articles posted on Facebook about the Hydrogen Farm to be constructed in the Codroy Valley area, I understand that some people are in agreement, and some are not. But that seems to be concern for any project for which the environment has the potential to be violated. You can have your protest but you can’t stop the progress. I know the government takes a look at the environmental impact on the situation, but they are not 100 per cent sure what the impact is until proper investigation is done. I hope everything goes well for the residents of the Codroy Valley area. Back in 2014, the Muskrat Hydro Maritime Link was introduced, and Nalcor, a Newfoundland and Labrador company, along with Emera, a Nova Scotia company, announced their intention to begin the construction process. Emera came to Cape Ray to start construction for the transmission pad and erected the hydro towers. Prior to the construction, meetings had to take place to explain the details for environment and the jobs that would be created in the area. So there was public meeting held and Emera representatives indicated there were a lot of jobs for the area, and also that there would be no environmental damage to the area in Cape Ray. However, that was not the case. Most of the employment was given to the people from other areas of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Alberta, and, of course, Norway. I could understand Norway as they have the experience. How did the people of Cape Ray fare out? Not very good. There might have been a half-dozen workers hired, and the jobs did not last very long. As for the environment, they tore up some decent berry picking grounds for bakeapples, marsh berries and partridge berries. The construction of the hydro towers went through the side of one of the Twin Mountains and Sugar Loaf Mountain, which has the wave forest. This area is a huge tourist attraction as visitors to the region tend to stop and take pictures. I was on the committee in Cape Ray and I asked questions about it several times when we had meetings. Why did they choose this way? And they said they had to follow the existing power line ,which is a pile of crap. I saw places between Cape Ray and Stephenville where they took a different route from the other power lines. I was talking to a guy from Alberta, who was a civil engineer and surveyor, and was in Big Pond at the time. We had a chat and he told me that one of the towers to be erected was delayed because the area was a swap area. One time they had to dig down about 30 feet to get rid of the mud and fill it in with rocks. He said to me, ‘Why they took this route I don’t understand.’ They could have gone around the other side of Sugar Loaf and had straight away instead. Getting back to the construction again, Marine Construction was the main contractor for the project from Corner Brook. They hired trucks of equipment from Port aux Basques when they needed them. As for us in Cape Ray, sure they probably paved a kilometre of the road in our area, and gave some funds to the fire hall and lighthouse museum. I approached Emera many times and asked them to pave the entire main road to the Trans Canada Highway and they said no, that it was the provincial government’s responsibility to maintain. Good luck there. I was after the government about the road back in 2012 and the road is still not done. Emera did a lot of damage to our roads in Cape Ray with the heavy equipment they were hauling for three years. The transition compound pad is all we have. I suspect everyone thought that the Bottom Brook substation was going to be in Cape Ray, but that didn’t happen. The main offices are in Stephenville on the West Coast. I don’t know how many jobs were involved and the Bottom Brook substation also has employees. In closing, I contacted the government about the roads and Twin Hills and other issues but never got any satisfaction. So to the residents in Codroy Valley, I hope everything turns out okay for you and make sure you get some positive answers to ensure everything is done right. One thing I can say is at least Emera finished their projects on time and never put the province in debt. This is not the case for Nalcor. The CEOs and construction companies put the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in a huge deficit and got away with it. Paul Taverner Cape Ray, NL

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