Community Meeting with World Energy GH2 Leaders
On August 24th Chris Bruce and Ron Laudadio from the CVADA attended a meeting hosted by Peggy White (Chief Executive Officer / Band Manager) at the Maidstone Inn that was a step towards connecting the leaders of World Energy GH2 with the community.
This important meeting brought the community closer to having a voice in this process. Our goal is to protect our Codroy Valley community and ensure their voices are heard.
World Energy GH2 stated they are very interested in finding mutual ways World Energy GH2 and the community can benefit each other from this venture. Peggy hosted this event to begin the community conversation, voicing concerns and interests and possibly collaborating on what could be the future.
Those from World Energy GH2 who attended were:
John Risely - Chairman and CEO of CFFI Ventures Inc
Gene Gebolys - Founder, President, and CEO of World Energy
Sean Leet - CEO of Horizon Maritime
John MacIsaac - Executive Advisor for World Energy GH2
The meeting attendees were a collection of those from the Three Rivers Mi'kmaq Band led by Peggy White and those she invited, who were a small collection of members of the CVADA and business owners in the Three Rivers Areas. Approximately 20 people from the Codroy Valley attended.
It became apparent that the World Energy GH2 leaders were very entrepreneurial and excited to be a part of the "first of its kind" initiative that is cutting into a new global industry of producing green hydrogen. They were also excited at Newfoundland's potential role in the future-thinking industry, given its world-leading access to wind and freshwater resources. Lastly, and more importantly to us, it is essential to this consortium that what they come up with works for the community. Gene Gebolys (CEO, World Energy) stated that if this venture doesn't work for the community, then it doesn't work for them, and they want to find a way it can work for everyone. They also stated they are interested in collaborating and working towards mutual benefit with the community and were grateful for the opportunity to continue the conversation with the community.
There is no doubt that the consortium leaders are businessmen coming with private investments intended to make substantial returns on their investment; however, this consortium seems genuine in ensuring their venture is sensitive to the environment (i.e. John Risley's considerable contribution in time and investment in the Nature Conservancy of Canada was noted in the discussion) and interested in bettering the communities who are living in areas that may be affected by the wind turbines.
The community also expressed a few concerns and interests, which included:
-Reiterating the request for a community benefits agreement
-Interested in the possibility of economic development and training opportunities for residents in the area, including Indigenous people
-Concerned about noise levels, both auditory and low-frequency vibration, as well as the impact on our communities activities such as moose hunting in Area 9.
There will be monetary contributions this venture will contribute to communities and possibly interest-free loans for those local entrepreneurs interested in establishing businesses that could support the World Energy GH2 operations or employees.
As the CVADA, we are continuing our conversation directly with John Hogan (Community Liason for World Energy GH2) and the other consortium leaders from World Energy GH2 to continue collaborating about how the community can benefit from their venture. We are also continuing our open dialogue with Peggy White from Three Rivers and thank her kindly for the opportunity and openness to invite us to this meeting.
We are interested in getting more information about their plans for the project as it develops. We will announce the next public community meeting soon, and we encourage everyone to attend to get updated information and voice their concerns and interest.
You can download the PDF of the pamphlet that World Energy GH2 handed out at the event.
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