Construction on Hydro project to start this summer
The Romaine River will be home to four new hydro electric damns by 2020, Premier Jean Charest announced Wednesday at a press conference.
It is being hailed by officials as an environmentally-friendly, job-generating project that brings together government, workers and the four Innu communities in the area, the Nutashquan, Ekuanitshit, Pakua Shipi and Unamen Shipu.
However, Alliance Romaine, a non-profit group that opposes the project, issued a press release stating the 5,500-signature petition they had submitted was ignored, and that the National Assembly failed to ask the basic question of whether or not people want this river to be damned.
"Since the release of the BAPE report, we have received no information as to whether the provincial government or Hydro Quebec has seriously reviewed these recommendations and made the necessary changes to their plans," Fran Bristow, spokesperson for Alliance Romaine, said in a press release.
"It is more clear today than ever before that Charest never intended to take the process seriously."
The government says the first batch of electricity generated by the installation will be sold to the United States.
Alliance Romaine expressed skepticism, saying the US has not classified Hydro power as green power, and therefore it may not qualify under regulations. The group is concerned our southern neighbours may not buy as much power as Quebec is planning on selling.
Construction is slated to begin this summer along the North Shore. The first reactor is scheduled to be on-line by 2014. The next three will follow in 2016, 2017 and in 2020.
Natural resources minister Claude B�chard estimates the project will create 2,000 jobs at its construction peak between 2012 and 2016. At other times, it will create 1,000 jobs a year.