Appalaches-Maine project: Hydro-Quebec bends to the popular will

The mayor of Thetford Mines welcomes with a sigh of relief the new version of Hydro-Quebec’s high-voltage line project, Appalaches-Maine, which will no longer run alongside two residential districts of the city.

The file had provoked an outcry from the town hall and the population this summer.

“We didn’t quite understand why Hydro-Quebec insisted on crossing the line there. Huge pylons would have ended up 10 meters from the cedar hedges of our citizens, ”said Mayor Marc-Alexandre Brousseau in an interview. These are pylons 35 meters high.

The initial route had its share of drawbacks, recalled the mayor.

“In addition to causing the expropriation of a resident, the construction of a high-voltage line in the Black Lake sector compromised the development of the last viable land,” he said. This is an important issue for the City, since several sites near the mines are unusable, given the contamination.

“But, in the end, we are happy with the opening of Hydro-Quebec,” said Marc-Alexandre Brousseau, who believes that the alternative route that the Crown corporation has put on the table is the best.

This new route, announced last week, runs the high-voltage line through the former British Canadian mine, a space without vegetation that, for all intents and purposes, cannot be used.

“This is the best thing to do,” believes the mayor, emphasizing the important citizen mobilization in this issue. The costs of the alternative route are close to those of the initial route, around $ 17 million.

Good corporate citizen

A Hydro-Quebec public relations officer, Maxence Huard Lefebvre, told the QMI Agency that the announcement of the new route was a response “to the concerns of the community”. Hydro consulted with the population from May 25 to June 30, following which 473 of the 647 respondents expressed their disapproval of the initial route.

Remember that the planned interconnection line must travel a little over 100 km from the Appalaches substation located in Saint-Adrien-d’Irlande – just west of Thetford Mines – to the village of Frontenac near the American border where Hydro-Quebec’s American partner, Central Maine Power, will take over. Ultimately, this line should transport 9.45 TWh (terawatt-hours) to New England, enough electricity to serve one million customers.

The project has been reviewed by the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE). The organization must submit its report to the minister on November 19.

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