NB Power begins discussions on future of Mactaquac Dam
NB Power kicked off a series of five open house discussions on whether the Mactaquac Dam should be repowered, retained, or removed altogether on Tuesday.
Many French Villiage, N.B., residents are looking for more information, but others like Pat Ames are hoping a decision will be made soon.
“I just don't know why they didn't just go ahead and fix it and leave us all alone,” said resident Pat Ames.
The Mactaquac Dam is likely to reach its end by 2030 due to issues with the facility’s concrete. One option is to build a new generating station, which would stop power from generating, but keep the dam in place.
Another is to remove everything and allow the river to flow naturally, which could affect water levels and approximately 10,000 residents between Woodstock and Oromocto.
“There will be likely a lot of people upset, for or against, one way or another,” said Ames.
Ames remembers going through the same situation back in the 60s when the dam was built.
“It appears to be same the thing (with a) different set of people, but the same results,” he said. “It will certainly put neighbour against neighbour.”
Two draft studies looking at the environmental and social impacts of this decision have been laid out. But New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon is looking for reports on the options for fish passage and economic impacts.
“In terms of the impact on power rates, property taxes for people living around the head pond area,” he said.
Both reports are due to be released early next year. NB Power is planning additional public meetings in February.
“What comes next also depends on what we hear from here,” said Deborah Nobes of NB Power. “If we find out people want more information or opportunities to provide input, we will certainly consider that.”
The discussion has not yet become politicized, with none of the parties taking an official position.
“In the very end for many it will come down to costs,” said Coon.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.