Power to the peo­ple?

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to fight NL Hy­dro over pro­posed in­creases

The Labradorian - - FRONT PAGE -

Thom­son.

“They were every­where — Trans­mit­ter (Corte Real) Road, Wil­burn Bay road, the North West River High­way and many other lo­ca­tions.”

Thom­son said the most sites they found were — iron­i­cally — lo­cated on the dump road, lead­ing into the re­gion’s land­fill site.

“Peo­ple dump­ing their truck­loads of trash along that road is noth­ing but lazi­ness,” she said. “They’re al­ready on their way to the dump!”

Thomp­son added she didn’t real- ize the ex­tent of the prob­lem un­til she started this job.

“I knew it was al­ways go­ing on, but I just didn’t re­al­ize how bad it ac­tu­ally was,” she said.

“I guess it’s a case of peo­ple get away with it, so it con­tin­ues to hap­pen.”

How­ever, she noted a new Face­book group might hope­fully cur­tail some of the il­le­gal dump­ing ac­tiv­ity.

“We started a site called ‘ Il­le­gal Dump­ing in the Up­per Lake Melville Area’, where you can view a map and pic­tures of the 60 sites we found,” said Thom­son.

“Ev­ery site we found, we mapped and en­tered into a GPS for fu­ture ref­er­ence.”

Thom­son said she en­cour­ages the gen­eral pub­lic to post pic­tures of sites they may come across and make com­ments to the is­sue.

“Maybe some­one might see a pic­ture of some­thing they had dumped and think twice about do­ing it again,” she said.

“We have to ad­just the rates to re­flect the costs of sup­ply­ing elec­tric­ity there in Labrador.”

But nei­ther Oliver nor Old­ford be­lieves that such rea­son­ing jus­ti­fies a rate in­crease, es­pe­cially when the Up­per Churchill pro­ject is next door, and the Lower Churchill pro­ject is un­der­way.

“We are the clos­est to the re­source, we are the main ben­e­fi­cia­ries for that re­source,” says Oliver. “We agreed, ini­tially, with this ( Lower Churchill) pro­ject be­cause we were go­ing to see cer­tain ben­e­fits. We haven’t seen them…( but) we should get the big­gest ben­e­fits from that pro­ject.”

Karen Old­ford points out that, if the prov­ince can af­ford to sell elec­tric­ity from the Up­per Churchill to Que­bec for 0.25 cents per kWh, there’s no rea­son for Labrado­ri­ans not to re­ceive the low­est rates pos­si­ble.

“The fact of the mat­ter is, Hy­dro (Que­bec) is only pay­ing a quar­ter of a cent per kWh to buy that power from Up­per Churchill,” says Old­ford.

“We cer­tainly are the clos­est, bar­ring Churchill Falls, to the re­source. So we should ben­e­fit from lower rates.”

Even though Labrador will still have some of the low­est power rates in the coun­try with the pro­posed in­crease, the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are con­cerned about higher power bills, and the aver­age per­son’s abil­ity to pay them. Res­i­dents of both Labrador West and Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay have seen sky rock­et­ing rent and hous­ing costs, as well as high prices for food.

“A lot of peo­ple are cur­rently hav­ing to con­trib­ute a lot more than 30% of their in­come to hous­ing,” says Old­ford of Labrador City’s hous­ing cri­sis.

“They got to com­pare ap­ples to ap­ples — look where we are,” said Oliver. “The cost of liv­ing up here is much more. We’ve got one thing that we can ben­e­fit from, and that’s cheap hy­dro rates, and that’s what we should have.”

For more reaction on this story, turn to page A4.

derek.mon­tague@the­labrado­rian.ca

Sub­mit­ted photo

The Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay Green Team said sights like this are much too com­mon around the Up­per Lake Melville area. This is one of just 60 il­le­gal dump­ing sites the team doc­u­mented dur­ing the sum­mer.

Labrado­rian file photo

Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay Mayor Stan­ley Oliver was shocked and an­gered by NL Hy­dro’s an­nounce­ment seek­ing a rate in­crease for much of Labrador.

Bon­nie Learn­ing photo

The Happy Val­ley-Goose bay Green Team have been hard at work with var­i­ous projects around the Up­per Lake Melville area, in­clud­ing im­prove­ments to the Mud Lake Road walk­ing trail.

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