The new co-generation plant in Port Clements will provide work for 40 people during construction later this year, and full-time jobs for 11 workers once it gets going, businessman Jim Abbott told Chamber of Commerce members Sunday.
The plant, currently being assembled in China, will provide up to 7.5 megawatts of power to the north end of the islands, replacing the diesel generating station in Masset, Mr. Abbott said.
It will produce power by burning about 50,000 tons of waste wood a year, he said. In answer to questions from chamber members, he said he doesn’t anticipate a huge difficulty in finding that amount of waste. His Abfam sawmill produces around 25,000 tons a year, and the rest could come from various other sources on island, or even off-island. There’s also a possibility the plant could burn municipal waste and shredded tires, Mr. Abbott said.
Once the plant arrives here from China, it will take four months to construct it beside the Abfam mill in the Port industrial park, he said.
Chamber members thanked Mr. Abbott for his presentation.
“It’s a great step to see this plant offsetting the diesel system,” said Jacques Morin, who is currently trying to put together a Haida Gwaii energy plan, and said he looked forward to talking to Mr. Abbott in greater detail.
Port mayor Dale Lore said the co-gen plant is a bright spot for the town, which has been going through a rough patch. For those who work in the logging industry, he said, the future is very uncertain, especially with the recent announcement that Brascan is buying Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd.
Gloria O’Brien, a Port business owner who was re-elected as Chamber vice-president, said 12 families have moved away from Port in the past two months, the future of the school is unsure, and the clinic has virtually closed down with the forced retirement of its nurse last week. Next week, the Hummingbird restaurant will close.
“Our community is up in the air,” she said. “We’re in big trouble and there should be groups like ours trying to get a better handle on where Brascan is going to take us.”
The 20 or so Chamber members re-elected Jean Traplin as president and Winston Shave as treasurer. Directors for the coming year are Andrew Merilees, Robert Baker, Dutes Dutheil, Urs Thomas, Skye Cantin and Joy Lafortune.
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