The legal requirement Nalcor cites as the reason for having to restrict public access to a section of the transmission line on the Northern Peninsula is a condition of its release from the environmental process.
The release was granted by former PC environment minister Tom Hedderson, under Tory premier Kathy Dunderdale, in June 2013, more than four years after the Crown corporation first registered the project for environmental assessment early in 2009.
As part of the release, Hedderson issued an undertaking release order that stipulated Nalcor must consult with the Newfoundland and Labrador Outfitters Association and outfitters who may potentially be impacted by the project.
The order also stated that, if any direct impacts were identified, then Nalcor would have to develop reasonable compensation provisions for the affected outfitters and design and implement an access decommissioning plan to mitigate diminished outfitting success rates.
There is currently a petition in the works opposing Nalcor’s plan to place gates at locations of the transmission line that would effectively restrict public access to around 60 kilometres of road coursing along the transmission line. The gates, to be placed at Brian’s Pond in the north and Eagle Mountain Brook in the south, are part of Nalcor’s decommissioning plan to mitigate impacts on the outfitting industry in the area.
The section on the Northern Peninsula is the only part of the entire transmission line from Muskrat Falls in Labrador to eastern Newfoundland that is to be gated.
The gates will be installed soon, according to Nalcor, although the corporation said a date has not yet been established.
Nalcor has said outfitters will also have the same restricted access to the area and no vehicles will not be able to pass through the gates other than those required to conduct maintenance along the transmission line.
What the legislation says:
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR REGULATION 87/13
Labrador-Island Transmission Link Undertaking Release Order under the Environmental Protection Act, as ordered by the Minister of Environment and Conservation in August 2013.
(i) the proponent, in consultation with the Newfoundland and Labrador Outfitters Association and outfitters who may potentially be impacted by the project, will develop a monitoring plan related to the potential impacts of the project on these outfitters;
(j) should direct impacts referred to in paragraph (i) be identified,
(i) the proponent shall work with the affected outfitters and the Newfoundland and Labrador Outfitters Association to develop reasonable compensation provisions, and
(ii) in areas with new project access, the proponent shall also design and implement an Access Decommissioning Plan to mitigate diminished outfitting success rates.
Source: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador