I would like to comment on an article in the Nov. 2 edition of The Telegram headlined “Dumeresque worried about icebergs: Nalcor says it’s cool.”
Gilbert Bennett, vice-president, Nalcor, contends that “the tunnel idea has been studied, and it would be more expensive and potentially not workable. He said geological study of the area showed several deep fissures in the rock would be majorly problematic to tunnel construction.”
Hatch, Mott, MacDonald, a world renowned consulting firm that was commissioned to do the prefeasibility study, with hundreds of highly qualified engineers, concluded that a tunnel beneath the seabed in the Strait of Belle Isle was feasible and would have the least environmental impact. Also, if Nalcor combined the cables with transportation in the tunnel, they would save $380 million.
Is Mr. Bennett ignorant of the fact that advances in technology allows such a tunnel to be constructed? He obviously feels Nalcor has much more expertise than Hatch, Mott, MacDonald, which I very much doubt.
He said, “in the early stages of the Muskrat Falls development, Nalcor assigned teams to look at the two options and compare. We had a tunnel team and we had a seabed team.” He goes on to say that in every one of these major considerations, including the technical feasibility, safety, cost certainty, options in terms of mitigating things if something goes wrong and geological risk, the seabed won in every category.
Question: is Mr. Bennett prepared to make these studies public and is he willing to state categorically that there is absolutely no way an iceberg can sever the cables laid on the seabed?
On another matter, if the Hatch, Mott, MacDonald report was so flawed, why did we pay them $330,000 for the study?