PORT HASTINGS: Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster is happy to hear the towers Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI) plans to build across the Strait of Canso won’t be quite as hard on the eyes as their predecessors.
“They told me when the new towers go up, the lights are coming off the existing ones,” he said. “The new towers will continue to have a white strobe light in the daytime, but at night they will have a softer red light. That would be an improvement and I think local residents will appreciate that.
“I’m happy the night-time white strobes will be gone for the sake of local residents. People will appreciate an end to something that has been a nuisance for a long time.”
The new towers will be part of the Maritime Link Project which will enable the transmission of hydro-electricity from Newfoundland and Labrador to Nova Scotia and beyond.
The Inverness County connection to the project had MacMaster initially suggest burying the cables that will carry electricity onto Cape Breton Island. The power utility said no, suggesting the cost of burying the cables would be four-times greater than erecting new towers.
However, MacMaster said he’s not convinced the cost of burying the cables noted in the consultant’s report provided by NSPI was accurate.
“The consultant’s report states that it would cost more to bury the cables, but when this issue became public, I became aware of some information that suggested perhaps the report wasn’t as thorough as it could have been on that point.
“That’s something I’m going to be pursuing with the Nova Scotia “Utility and Review Board, and if there’s anything to it, I would think the UARB would acknowledge it in their role to protect the consumer.”
MacMaster said he’ll still be pushing to have the cables buried, as long as it makes economic sense and doesn’t harm wildlife.
So far, there’s no date set for the construction of the new towers and, therefore, the date of installment of the modified lights is still up in the air.
Across the water, Antigonish County Warden Russell Boucher agrees with MacMaster about the bright lights. He said the flashing lights in Auld’s Cove are not only an issue of comfort.
“It’s a safety issue on the road too,” he said. “If those lights are coming on, it’s blinding. We would like to have it addressed immediately.
“Guysborough council is involved now, so is [Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie] MLA Lloyd Hines and we’re trying to contact [Cape Breton-Canso MP] Rodger Cuzner to see if he can’t do something with Transport Canada to fix the problem immediately, not in 12 months time.”