Real solutions for coastal Labrador power woes: Jones

Clarissa Smith
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Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones says Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Nalcor should drop the uneconomic Muskrat Falls project and instead invest their energy and the province’s money in sensible solutions to the electricity needs of people living in coastal Labrador.

“People living on the coast of Labrador are paying the highest electricity rates in the province,” Ms. Jones said.

“There have been numerous promises from the PC government about looking for alternative sources of energy there. What we need is less talk and more construction. There are viable solutions available, namely small scale hydro projects on local rivers. Some of these projects should have been built by now.”

On November 14 Southeastern Labrador leaders, optimistic and excited about the announcement, met with Southeastern Labrador Development to discuss ways to get power into their communities from Cartwright to Lodge Bay.

“The high cost and availability of power is something we have been advocating for many years,” said combined councils vice president Alton Rumbolt, “and we now have the opportunity with Lower Churchill and Muskrat Falls development to address the energy challenges for our communities as well.”

At that time Southeastern Aurora Development general director Roxanne Notley says the $2.5 million announced by the government in November to study small hydroelectric projects was encouraging.

But a January 14 meeting with Nalcor in Cartwright was one of disappointment for leaders in communities between Cartwright and Lodge Bay.

“We learned that advisors to the government from Nalcor are continuing to advocate status quo apart from reduction of “their” cost through alternate power like wind or mini hydro,” said Natural Resources director Byron Rumbolt.

“The board discussed Nalcor’s mandate and agree that the will of the government is the game changer, and that is the arena we as leaders and residents in Cartwright -Lodge Bay economic zone must aim our efforts in the next few weeks and months.”

He said the group would be calling upon their economic partners to formalize a plan of action to address the challenges.

“The Cartwright-Lodge Bay regions cannot grow a strong vibrant community if we do not have access available to affordable and reliable power,” he said.

“If energy continues to depend on diesel plants this region will continue to be held hostage and unable to pursue new economic opportunities due to current energy challenges.”

 

Geographic location: Labrador, Lodge Bay

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