The Grand Riverkeeper Labrador celebrates International Day 2013.
16th annual International Day
of Action for Rivers
On March 14, 2013 a number of elders from the community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada drove to Muskrat Falls, on the Grand (a.k.a. Churchill) River, the site of two proposed and highly contested hydro dams, to mark an International Day of Action for Rivers. (at least we drove as close as we could get in the snow). We had originally planned to ride there on snow-machines but a few days before the event we scoped out the site and found that the road was ploughed and thus we would be unable to drive snow-machines on the muddy road. To get to the site we drove off the Trans-Labrador Highway onto a narrow tote road, which, since our scoping visit a few days before, now had several posted signs indicating that we were no longer welcome to visit.
Nonplussed, we followed the rutty but ploughed road as far as we could. As we snowshoed to look over the frozen river ( see photo), we could hear the heavy equipment on the other side of the river as they beavered away cutting trees and already building camps to house the thousands of workers that they propose to inundate our small community with to build the dams (the community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has a population of 7500, the number of workers is proposed to reach 2 to 3 thousand). Unlike previous visits, the hydro industry, Nalcor, is ruining the historic ‘trappers portage’ with power lines and heavy equipment in preparing for the Muskrat hydro project on what is Canada’s 7th largest river.
Fortunately, we were not arrested by Nalcor Energy people working on the north side of the river where we held our small action, even though there were signs all along the route about an injunction against members of one of our Aboriginal Groups, the NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC).