Fox ques­tions claim of en­ergy rate de­crease

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - NU­TRI­TION

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.

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