Job seekers, landowners check out Emera project

Frank Gale
Published on January 30, 2014
Rebekah Cluett-Chan of Emera (left) and Janice Brennan, a landowner in Stephenville Crossing chat during the information session.
Frank Gale photo

Gerald Young of Flat Bay thinks it would be awesome if he could get a job with the Emera Maritime Link project, which gets underway soon.

Mr. Young and his wife, Ann Marie, were among a number of people who came out to a public information session that Emera Newfoundland and Labrador held at the fire hall in Stephenville Crossing earlier this week.

In just the first hour of the session, which ran for four hours, more than 30 people dropped by for various reasons.

Mr. Young formerly worked cutting wood for the Abitibi-Consolidated mill in Stephenville before it closed, and has since been going away to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia every winter doing the same job.

"It would be great to get a job here in Newfoundland and close to home," he said.

Gerry Brennan, project manager for Emera, said the company is hoping to start tree clearing for the project next month. That will start at Bottom Brook and work its way about halfway to Cape Ray throughout the winter.

Fred Marche of Port au Port, a heavy equipment operator, is another resident who dropped by the session and said he's looking for work too.

The former yard worker at Abitibi-Consolidated said he gets bored, so he would like to hook a job on this project.

"If I did get a job, I'd be there until it's finished," he said. "I would like to work close to home."

Janice Brennan of Stephenville Crossing dropped by the session out of concern as a landowner as to whether a transmission line being run to a planned grounding station in Rothesay Bay will pass close to her property.

She's concerned about whether it will affect the value of her property.

"I came to get a better understanding of the project, and while I recognize there are economic benefits ... you have to be concerned about the pros and cons of any type of development," she said.

Emera will construct and own a $1.2-billion underwater power connection from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, to be known as the Maritime Transmission Link. This will enable future electricity exports to the Maritimes and the United States.

The project will involve the installation of overhead, high-voltage, AC (alternating current) transmission lines connecting the Newfoundland island transmission grid to the Bottom Brook Converter Station.

A 500-megawatt station at Bottom Brook will convert AC power to HVDC (high-voltage direct current) power, which will be transmitted by overhead HVDC transmission lines from Bottom Brook to Cape Ray.

Submarine cables will be installed across the Cabot Strait from Cape Ray to Nova Scotia, where the 500 MW Cape Breton converter station will tie into the existing Nova Scotia transmission grid.

Ken Meade of Emera said most people who dropped by the information session asked about when the construction would start, while others wanted to know about the full scale of the project.

"Some wanted an understanding of what type of work there is going to be and jobs that will be available," he said.

Mr. Meade said a minimum of 16 trades would be involved in the project, in addition to support and project management staff.

The types of jobs will change during the course of the project, which is expected to be completed by 2017.