A final attempt to bend Hydro-Québec

News 21 August, 2017
  • Photo Jean-François Cloutier
    Lisette Lapointe, a former member of the parti québecois and mayor of Saint-Adolphe-d Howard, leads a fight to force Hydro-Québec to revise its plans in its municipality in order to avoid that the tower sits on these mountains.

    Jean-François Cloutier

    Monday, 21 aug 2017 06:30

    Monday, 21 aug 2017 06:30

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    The mayor of Saint-Adolphe-d Howard, Lisette Lapointe, submits a final alternative scenario to Hydro-Quebec to avoid that the panorama of his bucolic village of the Laurentians is “disfigured” by a controversial project of high-voltage power line.

    The Village of Saint-Adolphe was funded this summer to a study conducted by a former engineer at Hydro-Québec’s retirement, Jean-Claude Deslauriers, who put on the landfill part of the project of line 120-kV Grand-Brûlé-Derivation Saint-Sauveur.

    This line of 42.5 km, which runs along St. Adolphe for about ten kilometers, was built to meet the increased energy demand in the High-Laurentians, including Mont-Tremblant.

    This new story would be along an existing road, near St. Adolphe, in order to minimize costs. It would cost 22 % more than the current project, Hydro, or $ 126 million rather than $98 million.

    However, there would be ” no visual impact on the village and its tourist attractions “, according to Ms. Lapointe, met last week at his residence in St. Adolphe.

    Photo Jean-François Cloutier

    Hidden cost

    “There is a significant cost that is not taken into account by Hydro-Québec. They ruin the entire landscape, ” growls the mayor.

    In this plot, about 10 km of underground line are included. The network would be even more robust than with the current project, according to the engineer who worked on the scenario. Rather than directly hitting 30 owners, it does not affect 10. There would be 30 towers on the 40 planned.


    It is a real saga, which opposes Saint-Adolphe-d Howard at Hydro-Québec.

    The artists Claude Meunier and Guy A. Lepage, who own country houses in the municipality, had even denounced publicly in 2013 that they considered to be some shenanigans on the part of the Crown corporation in this folder.

    At the beginning of August, the MRC des pays-d’en-Haut has adopted a resolution to the prime minister Philippe Couillard, the minister of Energy and natural Resources Pierre Arcand, and the minister of the Environment David Heurtel to intervene with Hydro-Québec in order that the corporation “agrees to trade objectively with the municipality of Saint-Adolphe” on the proposal of landfill part.

    Work imminent

    Contacted yesterday, the spokesperson for Hydro-Québec Geneviève Chouinard said Hydro-Quebec had to start work by the end of the summer.

    “We have tried as much as possible to accommodate the residents of Saint-Adolphe and taken into account several adjustments to the project,” we she said.

    Photo Agence QMI, Simon Clark

    Éric Martel

    CEO of Hydro

    In a letter dated 4 August, the current CEO of Hydro-Québec, Éric Martel, also refuses any new encounter with Ms. Lapointe about the project.

    “We can’t acquiesce to your request “, he replied.

    Hydro buries existing rows in the United States

    The mayor of Saint-Adolphe-d Howard, Lisette Lapointe, denounces the fact that Hydro-Québec does not hesitate to bury at great expense, hundreds of miles of lines south of the border to accommodate its american customers, but refuses to do so here.

    She gives the example of the project of Northern Pass in New Hampshire. Nearly 100 km should be buried at the cost of half a billion $.

    “Why is buried in the United States and not in Quebec ? request-t-it. We can’t waste our wealth of landscape like this. “

    According to it, the engineers of the Hydro would have told him then that Quebecers were not ready for the landfill because it is more expensive. “The province of Quebec may be ready for the landfill in places where it is reasonable,” retorted she.

    Too expensive

    In its response to Ms. Lapointe in August, the big boss of Hydro-Québec, Éric Martel, writing that the landfill has already been studied for the new line passing through Saint-Adolphe.

    “Our specialists have a duty to consider all scenarios of power that have been proposed, including solutions underground. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that this avenue proves to be too costly for all of the clients of Hydro-Québec, ” he says.

    Ms. Lapointe says on his side that the last proposed solution supports that the landfill part of the line, for a minimal increase in the total bill.

    “It is a long-term investment, over decades. It is necessary to take into account the cost that there was not to bury, on the price of the houses, on the potential for tourism, ” she said.

    Previous ?

    The mayor also said that Hydro has not hesitated to proceed with the landfill in Quebec in a project that looks similar in all respects to that of the Large-Burned-Deviation-Saint-Sauveur. Hydro will bury 58 km of new lines in Quebec to bring electricity to New York.

    “In the case of the interconnection Hertel-New York, the geological conditions of the study area, the advanced technology selected, as well as its reasonable cost allow the burial of the single line over a long distance, without adding other electrical equipment to the surface of the soil,” says Hydro on its website.

    Ms. Lapointe believes rather that Hydro is a fear of precedent if the plans already established are reviewed after a popular pressure.