Fox questions claim of energy rate decrease
Opposition Leader Jamie Fox wants the MacLauchlan government to clarify details about the energy cost savings it has promised for Islanders as a result of the completion of the Northumberland power cable project.
On Tuesday in a series of public comments from senior government officials and online posts, the MacLauchlan government stated the new power cable would result in lower energy costs for Island consumers and businesses.
“The power cable is an important infrastructure piece for the Island to help stabilize and secure our energy transmission. It’s something we long advocated for, so it’s good to see the project now completed but the MacLauchlan government’s promise of lower energy costs for residents and businesses deserves more scrutiny. Especially since we’re currently locked into annual power rate increases through 2019,” said Fox.
Currently Island residents and businesses are locked into a three-year power purchase agreement that extends to the end of 2019 between the province and Maritime Electric that guarantees electricity rate increases of 2.3 per cent annually.
“How much savings are we talking about here? Island residents and businesses have long paid very high power rates, and they deserve some relief. If there are energy cost savings to be had, when will Islanders see some relief from these high energy costs?” asked Fox.
The new board of directors of the P.E.I. Shellfish Association has a meeting scheduled with government officials to work out some details on staffing and the spreading of oyster seed.
Kenneth Arsenault, who was elected provincial president during a special meeting in Linkletter Tuesday evening, said the board hopes to have at least three staff members begin work as early as next week.
There is much work to be done, he admits, as the cages that contain oyster seed collected from spat last year haven’t been tended to this year, and no collectors were put out to collect spat to be used as next year’s seed.
Earlier this summer a group of shellfish harvesters petitioned for a special meeting to call for the resignation of the board’s president, but the special meeting was cancelled when Brenda Campbell and some of her executive resigned in advance of that meeting.
That led to Tuesday’s meeting, attended by about 60 shellfish harvesters. During the meeting, members of the previous board — Kyle Marchbank, Chris Bernard and Coady MacIntyre — were re-elected. Marchbank continues to serve as vice-president.
Along with Arsenault, new members joining the board are Loman MacLean, who has previous board experience, James Barlow, Doug Boylan, Scott Dennis and Bob MacLeod.
John Jamieson, the deputy minister of fisheries, and two provincial fisheries
“I’m going to put more onus on the membership so it can’t come back on the board. Let the members decide where stuff like that is done. You’ve got to keep them involved; to keep them coming to meetings.” Kenneth Arsenault
staff members were in attendance.
Arsenault said those in attendance heard government plans to purchase and spread 1,200 peck of oyster seed which it will purchase from a grower.
Fishermen voted on where to spread the purchased seed.
He said he plans to involve membership on such decisions going forward.
“I’m going to put more onus on the membership so it can’t come back on the board. Let the members decide where stuff like that is done,” he said. “You’ve got to keep them involved; to keep them coming to meetings.”
The new president suggested it could take two years for the association to get back to full production and return to financial stability. He declined to reveal financial numbers.
He said most of the seed in the association’s cages since last year is not big enough to spread because of the lack of activity at its Bideford River Biological Station this year. He said the staff who will be hired will be sorting through the cages and spreading the largest of the seed, but he anticipates most of the seed will be returned to cages and spread next year.
P.E.I. oyster fishermen participate in the 2016 fall opening of their fishery on the Mill River.