'We still want to find the best solution for everyone': NB Power plans the end of iconic generating station
HALIFAX -- The Milltown Generating Station has long been a landmark on the St. Croix River, which forms the border between New Brunswick and the neighbouring state of Maine – but it could soon be just a memory.
“That's a lot of history there, where we're standing wouldn't be here today in this community because it was built around this dam," says St. Stephen, N.B., mayor, Allan MacEachern.
The province's power utility is looking for approval to decommission the station and remove the dam –but the removal process is giving MacEachern pause. He worries NB Power hasn't weighed all options and that the decision is already set in stone.
"It's guided to a direction they want to get to, and I think it's following the money that's being allotted by the federal government,” says MacEachern. “I think that's played a big part in it."
The Milltown dam does have historical value to the area as the first hydroelectric generating station in Canada. Given its significance, NB Power CEO, Gaetan Thomas, said in a news release the utility would be including the community in each phase of the process.
Despite NB Power’s statement, MacEachern says there hasn't been enough consultation, and he's not happy with the consultations that have happened.
However, NB Power says there are more consultations coming.
“There's still some work to be done and work to do with the community as well,” says NB Power executive director of generation and engineering, Phil Landry. “We've said from the beginning, and we want to make sure that people understand that we still want to find the best solution for everyone."
The utility says extending the life of the generating station isn't financially feasible, and they have been speaking with developers who are showing interest; however, it isn’t a simple process.
“What our experience has been is when we show them the numbers and why NB Power decided not to do this on their own, it becomes quite evident to them that there's no business case there,” says Landry.
Meanwhile, NB Power says it expects decommissioning to begin in the fall and continue throughout 2020 following an environmental impact assessment.