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Muskrat Falls Inquiry room ready with help of HMP inmates

Lawyer Kate O’Brien is co-counsel with the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project.
Lawyer Kate O’Brien is co-counsel with the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project. - Joe Gibbons

First hearing date will be Friday in St. John’s, for standing

There were microphone checks happening in the public hearing room for the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project on Wednesday afternoon.

Final preparations are underway ahead of the first hearing date, Friday.

The hearing room is located on the third floor of the Beothuck Building, at 20 Crosbie Place in St. John’s, and the session will start at 9:30 a.m.

Renovations were required to prepare the hearing space, including the removal of some walls that were not load-bearing, replacement of ceiling tiles, new paint and carpet.

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A carpentry shop program at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s produced several pieces of furniture used during the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Death of Donald Dunphy. Those pieces are now in the Beothuck Building to serve the Muskrat Falls Inquiry.

Co-counsel Kate O’Brien said more pieces were supplied through the program at HMP.

“I think it’s a great program, and we’re delighted to make use of the program,” she said, giving credit to the quality of the work.

In the main hearing room, there are newly built tabletop podiums and document carts that can be wheeled in and out of the room as required.

An L-shaped desk was custom built for the Muskrat Falls Inquiry’s broadcast room, adjacent to the main hearing room. The room is dedicated to live webcasts (available at

The main room looks a little different now than it will when the inquiry gets into its regular hearing days. At that point, more tables will be added for parties awarded standing.

Friday’s hearing is meant to allow Justice Richard LeBlanc an opportunity to interact with the applicants for standing — a mix of individuals and groups interested in having a presence throughout the inquiry. There are 21 applications to be reviewed before decisions are made.

The hearing room is a scent-free environment. There will be a security screening process, so people attending are encouraged to arrive early.

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