(Matane) After that TransCanada had abandoned its project to build an oil terminal at the port of Cacouna because of the presence of the nursery belugas, now Quebec gives the green light to the development of an industrial port zone ( ZIP) in the same place, near Riviere-du-Loup. For environmentalists, the government has not understood, especially as a ministerial Ottawa was filed in May to protect critical habitat of this marine mammal.
“The federal just made a step to protect critical habitat for beluga, then the provincial government seems to him to do three back to a project that will necessarily affect the habitat of this endangered species,” complains the project Manager of Nature Quebec, Sophie Gallais.
Marc Lapointe, the press secretary of the Minister responsible for Maritime Strategy says that the grant of $ 125,000, announced last week by Jean D’Amour, is devoted to the creation of a local committee of people from Port of Cacouna, municipality, various ministries, the regional chamber of commerce and the private sector. “The local committee will demarcate the area where there will be the ZIP and will also establish a prospecting plan to pick up business,” he refers to the name of the minister was not available to give us a interview.
“We must be consistent, response Ms. Gallais. To study to see if we can develop an industrial port zone is push the problem further. The region needs to stimulate economic development, that’s fine. But there are things to do other than to develop an industrial port zone there! ”
According to Mr. Lapointe, who gets the words of Minister D’Amour, “economic development can be done in harmony with environmental protection.” “The nursery, it is a place, he continues. But, is there not a way to miss “Sophie Gallais can not be clearer:” An industrial port zone is not compatible with the Beluga! ”
The press says that it is not proven that the maritime traffic that will generate this port development could harm marine mammal habitat. “We can not say that the beluga is not sensitive to maritime traffic, contradicts the spokesman Nature Québec. We know that it is sensitive to noise. It’s very risky. There is talk of a kind of less than 1000 people! ”
Saguenay also referred
Among the fifteen targeted locations for the development of ZIP, Saguenay is another key sector for the beluga. If maritime traffic increases in sectors fjord and Tadoussac, there will be consequences for the populations of beluga whales in the opinion of another project manager at Nature Québec, Marilyn Labrecque.
If Marc Lapointe said that the minister responsible for maritime strategy reaches out to environmentalists, Ms. Labrecque does not share any of this notice. “Minister D’Amour multiplies the ads for amounts available for projects, he met local stakeholders, environmental organizations but never met, she laments. There have been several requests to meet with Minister D’Amour. There has never been followed or when the meetings were postponed indefinitely. There has never been means to meet Minister D’Amour. There are many actors in the territory, who have knowledge and very important and specialized expertise on the St. Lawrence. These are players to experience all as important as economic actors! ”