SaltWire's Ask a Journalist: You have questions, let's find some ...
The latest weather columns and browse beautiful photos from Cindy Day
SaltWire's cartoonists bring heart and humour to the news.
NOW Atlantic: Smart thinking for a changing world
The latest on Nova Scotia's mass shooting
What you need to know about COVID-19: June 1
Visit SaltWire.com for more of the stories you want.
PCs, NDP and N.L. Alliance say they’ll strike independent panel to review safety
The Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition says it’s looking for answers about the North Spur – and only the Liberals didn’t answer.
The coalition wrote letters to all four party leaders asking for their commitment to an independent panel to review the stability of the North Spur.
Concerns have been raised about the stability of the hill that borders the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, though extensive work has been done to stabilize the area. The primary concern is the clay surrounding the North Spur, which critics worry is not stable and could collapse.
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball did not respond to the initial survey from the coalition, but says after reviewing the science he has no concerns about the safety of the spur.
“There’s no safety issues related to the North Spur. This is something I’ve questioned in the past. I’ve asked Nalcor and those that have been involved. There’s no concern at all for the North Spur,” said Ball.
“I will send that message loud and clear: with all the information that’s gathered from the reporting that’s been done, this has been done to the engineering standard that’s required. Safety and stability is not an issue with the North Spur.“
As for why the Liberals didn’t reply to the survey, campaign staff say they did not receive the invitation – or at least couldn’t find it in their email records.
Meanwhile, Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie says he would heed the request of the coalition and strike a review panel.
“Another in-house review by experts chosen and paid for by Nalcor is not the way to a local buy-in,” wrote Crosbie.
“The cost of an independent technical review of stability issues will be tiny in relation to the risk of human life and to the billions of dollars of investment posed by a dam failure.”
New Democratic Party Leader Alison Coffin also committed to an independent review panel for the North Spur.
“International experts on the subject have repeatedly stated the stability of the North Spur has not been properly assessed,” wrote Coffin.
“We fully support your recommendation. We have to be sure this dam is safe. The lives of those living downstream could depend on it.”
Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance Leader Graydon Pelley followed suit in supporting the call.
“I believe that people must be put before projects,” wrote Pelley.
“There has to be assurances in place showing without a doubt that the lives of people are not at risk and destruction of communities will not occur.”