UPDATE: Muskrat falls site protest not unsafe: Russell

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Nalcor Energy to create ‘safety zone’ where protestors allowed

- Telegram file photo

Nalcor Energy is going to create an area for people to protest the Lower Churchill development, near the Crown corporation’s construction site at Muskrat Falls.

In a statement issued mid-day today, a spokeswoman for Nalcor said the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador has upheld an injunction, issued last week, prohibiting on-site protests by the NunatuKavut Community Council, council president Todd Russell and “persons unknown.”

“The injunction allows Nalcor to continue its site construction work at Muskrat Falls without interruption,” the spokeswoman stated.

According to the Canadian Press, lawyers the NunatuKavut Community Council have since argued the court order — banning protesters from the site — was too broad, and protestors should be allowed to promote their cause by, for example, handing out brochures.

The court order was not lifted. However, the court “accepted Nalcor Energy's proposal to build a ‘safety zone’ for protestors.”

Protestors will not be able to approach vehicles from the protest area.

“Ensuring we operate a safe work environment is the most important thing we can do as a company. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously,” states Gilbert Bennett, Nalcor Energy vice president and lead on the Lower Churchill project.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure safety on the Muskrat Falls site, and that includes the safety of workers and protestors.”

The Telegram has contacted a representative for the NunatuKavut Community Council and is awaiting response.

UPDATE; Speaking for the NunatuKavut Community Council, Russell told The Telegram the idea the protests that preceded the original injunction were unsafe is not true. He said the council will speak to the point at another hearing on the matter — this one in Labrador — set for Nov. 6-7.

Russell said the council did not have representation present when the injunction was first issued and considers this, the initial response by the courts to the council's objections, to be a small victory leading into the November hearings.

Read more in tomorrow's print and digital editions.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Nalcor Energy, NunatuKavut Community Council, Supreme Court Canadian Press

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • KD
    October 17, 2012 - 14:14

    It seems to me mr russell is completely out of touch the last time I checked these people were just trying to jump on the aboriginal band wagon with no status they should be treated the same as all nl ers and if their protest is interfering with safe work practices or in any way interrupting the progress at muskrat falls then they should be arrested and charged I am sure the same would apply to the remainder of us labradorians

    • James G. Learning
      October 17, 2012 - 18:51

      You are all wet KD, yes we are Aboriginals. You can deny this but we have living breathing walking proof we are. Our Moms and dads. Would I deny you your right to self identify? Not likely, in fact I don't give a hoot who you are, why should you care who I am. I'm Home, where I have always been. So why would someone from somewhere else come here and tell me I have no rights to lands I have inherited, If you are a Labradorean, then give up what you want, I'm not giving up anything, they have to take it, by force. Not a good word to use, but sometimes and under some circumstances these things must be thought about. I'm not a roll over.

  • Jay Person
    October 17, 2012 - 11:39

    And now we have designated free speech zones... *sigh* Orwell's 1984 wasn't an instruction manual!