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Témiscamingue divided by two power plant project

Témiscamingue divided by two power plant project

A project to build two small hydropower plants on the Kippawa River divides the Abitibe-Tmiskaming residents.

On July 21, the MRC de Témiscamingue and three indigenous communities will submit a proposal to Hydro-Québec to build two small hydroelectric power stations on Kipawa. This wild river appears on the $10 banknote to illustrate a natural location of the Canadian Shield.

In total, 42 megawatts (MW) capable of powering 15,000 homes will be produced thanks to an investment of $200 million. But the project called Onimiki (Thunder) is dividing the population.

There are proponents: “It’s a good project that will allow us to ensure energy independence while bringing significant economic benefits to the region,” says MRC Governor Claire Boldock, who confirms the partnership with the Anishinabeg communities in Wolf Lake and Kebaowek. The Innu community in Lac-Saint-Jean is also a business partner.

Then there are the detractors: “Citizens were not consulted despite repeated promises by promoters,” says Louis Reubel, French teacher at Cégep de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue and spokesperson for the Kipawa River Festival. Who collected a hundred people from eggs. Water lovers last weekend.

‘Irreversible’ repercussions

The project includes diverting part of the water to the source of the river.

So Mr. Riopel fears that this intervention will permanently and irreversibly modify the ecosystem in the place where the Opemican National Park has just been created.

Studies show that the reproduction of lake trout, for example, can be affected by changes in the water level. Resort issues were also raised: the water drop would undoubtedly affect fans of water sports.

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The Abetepe-Tmiscaming Regional Environmental Council, the watershed organization Témiscamingue and the Association of Lake Té de Moulins residents expressed their concerns in a letter sent to the MRC on December 14.

These organizations, without officially opposing Ominiki, claim that many questions have remained unanswered despite repeated requests.

epidemic error

MI Bolduc asserts that counseling time has run out due to the pandemic in particular. Hearings will take place after the project has been submitted in order to respect the deadline. Studies will also be carried out in accordance with established environmental standards.

Alain Saladzius, President of the Rivières Foundation, regrets that we do not know the effects of this project on the ecosystem, because the flow issues were not presented. His organization “supports groups that request to be informed”.

Four small power plants coming

After abandoning hydropower projects of less than 50 MW under Pauline Marois, Hydro-Québec restarted a program of small power plants from private developers. The government institution undertakes to purchase the electricity produced. Here are the four projects to be built over the next few years.

Four-mile hydroelectric power station

  • Power: 5.5mW
  • Region: North Coast

Six million hydroelectric plant falls

  • Power: 13.2MW
  • Region: North Coast

Inavik Factory

  • Power: 7.25mW
  • Region: Northern Quebec

Manuan Sibi Hydropower Plant

  • Power: 22mW
  • Region: Morrissey

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