C.B.S. Mayor Ken McDonald preparing to square off with Nalcor

C.B.S. Mayor Ken McDonald preparing to square off with Nalcor

Nalcor's plan to use a local road to transport heavy trucks and other equipment to a construction site in Conception Bay South has angered Mayor Ken McDonald, who is threatening a blockade unless a suitable alternative is found.

Nalcor is building a shoreline electrode at Dowdown's Point, near the neighbourhood of Seal Cove, as part of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. The electrode is a high-capacity grounding system, and is similar to a substation.

It's one of two being built along the 1,500 kilometre Labrador-Island Link from Muskrat Falls, Labrador to Soldier's Pond, on the province's Avalon Peninsula. The other is at L'Anse au Diable in southern Labrador.

McDonald is critical of the corporation's plan to use Lears Road to access the site. He said the road is not built to handle dump trucks laden with thousands of tonnes of rock.

He said the trucks will also pass through a residential area with about a dozen homes where children board and exit school buses.

He said Nalcor maintains it doesn't need the town's permission, but he's not backing down.

"We're not on to allow this to take place in the manner in which they want to do it. I think there's not one resident up there that I know of that's in favour of allowing this to go ahead in the manner in which they're planning on doing it," said McDonald.

Bennett will meet Friday with Nalcor vice-president Gilbert Bennett, but says he and other councillors are prepared to help block access to the road on Monday. 

"We think there are other options," he said.

The mayor said there was very little consultation and consideration of the impact the project may have on water and sewer lines in the area. He added that residents are expected to abide by local bylaws and regulations while it appears Nalcor can do whatever it wants.

Nalcor keen to address issues

Bennett told CBC Thursday afternoon that the Crown corporation has been in touch extensively with the council and area residents over the year, including several meetings with the town as well as a concerned citizens' committee. 

"There has been an extensive process," he said. 

Bennett said Nalcor recognizes that the planned work will have an effect on the town, but that the proposed route and plan are the best options for mitigating such effects.

"We understand there is going to be inconvenience and disruption in a residential neighbourhood, and we wanted to engage and make sure that everybody is on the same page in terms of the work that had to be done," Bennett told CBC Radio's On The Go. 

Asked to comment on a possible blockade, Bennett said, "I'd like to get through that conversation, that engagement and that dialogue before I think about what might happen down the road."