STEVE BONSPIEL THE EASTERN DOOR
The final phase of the massive Hydro Quebec Line 2 Dismantlement project is here.
According to Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) chief Lindsay LeBorgne and the lead on the project, all that is left to do is replanting trees.
In a previous announcement made by the MCK, they explained that the Kahnawake Environment Protection Office (KEPO) would ensure that the area affected would be restored with native trees.
Further, KEPO will also be monitoring the area for several years after the replanting, to safeguard its success.
“They are going to be planting over 1,000 seedlings, made up of eight different species, to make up for the vegetation that had to be taken down in order to access the area and remove the towers,” said LeBorgne.
“Then we are going to move in and inspect all of the completed work to make sure that the agreement with Hydro has been followed in its entirety.”
Over the last two months, all of the towers in the territory – save for four – were removed. The work on the north wall, on the other side of the Seaway, was also completed.
The four towers were left in place at the request of the property owner, said LeBorgne in late March.
“A lot of the soil has been removed to get rid of the contamination from the zinc that was put on the towers to preserve the metal. That process has also been completed,” he said.
According to LeBorgne, some tower bases were left intact because removing them would have disrupted the environment and ecosystem even further.
“However, if in the future they become problematic and need to be removed, hydro will honour the agreement by taking them out,” said LeBorgne.
Once the MCK finally signs off on the project’s completion, the long and tedious process of transferring back the ownership of the land to the community will begin. The chief said that some of the land is common land while other parts are privately owned.
“People will need to be patient because it is going to take at least a year to receive their certificate of possession,” said the chief.
LeBorgne said that although he was at first apprehensive about taking the lead on the project due to the unpredictability of construction, he believed that the progression has been smooth. He said that he was very pleased with the outcome.
“Hydro was very accommodating with all of our requests and used the vast majority of the workforce and equipment from the community.
“Even when they had to take down the large towers and needed specialized equipment, they still hired several Kahnawakehró:non to assist them – so we have been very happy with that,” said LeBorgne.