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  • Writer's pictureRon Laudadio

CVADA Quarterly Community Collaboration Session, June 13th, 6:30-8:30 pm @ St. Ann's

Updated: Jun 25, 2023


You can download a PDF Version of this Report:

The Codroy Valley Community Sentiment Report on Project Nujio’qonik - CVADA - June 2023
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We invite you to post comments about this report on our CVADA Facebook Group if you wish.



Community Sentiment Report on Project Nujio’qonik - June 2023


Introduction


This report presents survey results from a community event in the Codroy Valley regarding World Energy GH2's Project Nujio’qonik application in Newfoundland & Labrador. The event aimed to assess the community's opinions, understanding, and questions about the project, which may impact the residents, businesses, and area of the 15 communities of the Codroy Valley.


The goal is to use these survey results to guide the CVADA in serving the interests of residents in the Codroy Valley's 15 communities. As we gear up for the Public Comment Period in the fall, the survey offers insight into the community's general feelings, perceived advantages and disadvantages, and remaining questions.


On behalf of the 15 Communities of the Codroy Valley, the CVADA will then pass these queries to the World Energy GH2 group and our government offices, seeking clarity on what the community understands and answers to their questions.


The CVADA Quarterly Community Collaboration Event, June 13th, 2023, at St. Ann’s Community Centre.


The event was a unique opportunity for residents to shape the future of the Codroy Valley community. Held in a friendly and respectful atmosphere, attendees had the chance to:

  1. Engage in group discussions about Project Nujio’qonik.

  2. Learn their neighbours' views on these projects.

  3. Share their insights, which are now helping to guide CVADA's decisions.

  4. Pose questions to further their understanding.

  5. Cast an anonymous poll response on World Energy GH2’s Project Nujio’qonik bid.

The CVADA thoughtfully planned this event to prioritize attendees' contributions and communication. Instead of the typical "podium and chairs" setup that often leads to unproductive confrontations, we adopted a new, open and productive format to encourage the constructive engagement of each community member, allowing everyone an equal voice and the ability to be heard. No speeches were given, just meaningful dialogue. Attendees could come and go as they pleased, and every belief and question was documented for future reference on our website.


This gathering was exclusively for Codroy Valley residents, as its outcomes now guide CVADA's support of the community concerning Project Nujio’qonik. To ensure unbiased information capture from the community, we respectfully excluded the attendance of World Energy GH2 representatives, our government representatives, and external parties when discussing and capturing the information conveyed in this report. We have a confidential record of the attendees' names and communities at the event and those who provided input through personal consultations with a CVADA Board Member after the event.


The event marked the initial stage of CVADA's four-step Action Plan to foster an informed and engaged community. Its purpose was to gather input for the Community Comment Period in the provincial government's application process concerning the use of Crown Lands by World Energy GH2.



In the first step, the CVADA aims to understand the community's thoughts, opinions, and questions regarding the Wind Energy Project by World Energy GH2. This helps us better represent the 15 Communities of the Codroy Valley. The second step involves engaging with relevant organizations and government offices to obtain answers and clarifications, ensuring a well-informed community. In the third step, the CVADA will support the community with research, prepare resources, establish connections, and interact with decision-makers as required in preparation for the upcoming Public Comment Period. Finally, in the last step, the CVADA will provide ongoing support to the Codroy Valley community throughout the Public Comment Period.


Community Sentiment Poll Results


The CVADA hosted a poll and collected responses from 183 community members regarding how they feel about the bid for Project Nujio’qonik by World Energy GH2. Because some community members weren’t able to attend the event, each community representative on the CVADA Board consulted those who wished to contribute their sentiment response in the poll. Poll responses from the Community Event vs. the Personal Consultation were somewhat similar in ratio.






Footnote: With a sample proportion of 10.2% of the total community, and the degree of spread in responses (with 71% saying 'No' and 15% saying 'Yes'), the margin of error of approximately 5.8% provides a statistically strong representation of the community's sentiment at a 95% confidence level.


Community's Perceived Project Advantages


During the community event, the CVADA encouraged community members to share the potential benefits and advantages they associate with Project Nujio’qonik. It's important to note that these statements are not facts but reflect some community members' personal views, perceptions and understanding. As part of our action plan, we aim to verify and validate these statements by consulting with key stakeholders involved in Project Nujio’qonik. This rigorous process ensures we are well-informed before the Community Comment Period, enabling us to thoroughly understand the project's potential impact.

  1. Introduce the province to the Wind Energy and Green Hydrogen industry as one of the world's cheapest and fastest-growing energy sources.

  2. Bring new infrastructure, including better roads and more cell towers for improved cellular and internet services.

  3. Provide funding for community projects that support the needs of the community.

  4. Help augment youth, children, and senior support and activity programs.

  5. Bring new tourism opportunities to support and augment local, related businesses.

  6. Provide new business opportunities within the community, for the community, such as new stores, restaurant and food delivery services, and living accommodations.

  7. Provide the Province with revenue to contribute to payroll and the fiscal budget obligations.

  8. Provide local opportunities in a new industry to reduce the migration of our young families.

  9. Support projects that nurture the local ecosystem to support the area's endangered and rare migratory birds.

  10. Create educational and training opportunities for local residents to augment their skills and capabilities for income and career augmentation.

  11. Provide local employment for those who already reside in the Codroy Valley.

  12. Avoid any negative effect on the local agricultural and personal farmlands and businesses that employ or sustain many of the community residents.

  13. Reduce provincial and global greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of fossil fuels and help improve air quality.

  14. Contribute to a clean source of energy for existing and future generations.

  15. Provide landowners with an opportunity to lease their land to wind energy project contractors and stakeholders to generate additional income.


Questions About the Potential Advantages


Community Questions for the Provincial Government:

  1. What is the reason for the perceived lack of transparency and communication from government bodies regarding the decisions and motivations behind the introduction of the Wind Energy & Green Hydrogen projects? Why does it seem that citizens are required to research this information independently?

  2. What specific enhancements to the existing infrastructure in our area, such as power lines and roads, are planned by the Provincial government to effectively handle the expected rise in traffic, construction activities, and other potential disturbances resulting from the project?

  3. What are the anticipated economic benefits of this project for our province and individual communities? Additionally, could you provide an estimate of the timeframe within which the province is expected to realize these benefits and clarify whether they will stem from permits, royalties, or other sources?

  4. What is the exact amount of investment that the provincial government will allocate to this project during its initial construction and operation phase? Will any of these investments be provided in the form of subsidies, tax credits, or other financial assistance?

  5. Could you project the financial benefits of this project over the next decade and explain how these benefits will be distributed among federal, provincial, regional, and community levels?

  6. What is the anticipated population growth in the province directly attributed to this emerging industry, and would this impact be of a long-term or short-term nature?

  7. What sectors, apart from hunting outfitters, does the province anticipate will be affected (either positively or negatively) by this project?

  8. How does the Province plan to support hunting outfitters operating in the areas of planned wind turbine installations in adjusting to potential land-use restrictions?

  9. Beyond the upcoming Community Comment Period, what specific avenues are available for citizens opposing Project Nujio’qonik to potentially halt or indefinitely delay its implementation? What legal or civic powers do they possess in this particular context?

  10. When can we expect elected representatives like Premier Andrew Furey, Minister Andrew Parsons, and MHA Scott Reid to visit our Codroy Valley community and discuss the World Energy GH2's Project Nujio’qonik proposal in person?

  11. To effectively protect the environment and our health, how can our Provincial Government place trust in an environmental assessment funded by the company advocating for the project? What specific safeguards is the government implementing to ensure that unbiased and accurate environmental studies and projections are conducted?

  12. How might this project affect our electricity costs? Could you explain the factors contributing to potential changes in electricity bills?


Community Questions for World Energy GH2:

  1. Could you detail the number and nature of employment opportunities anticipated for the Codroy Valley residents due to the wind energy projects and clarify the duration of these job terms?

  2. What kind of local services, to be potentially offered by businesses within the Codroy Valley, are expected to be in demand during both the construction and operational phases of the World Energy GH2 project?

  3. Does the proposed Project Nujio’qonik contribute to air quality improvement? If they do, could you elaborate on the mechanisms through which this improvement occurs and whose air quality will primarily be affected?

  4. Given the established agreements with foreign educational institutions related to Project Nujio’qonik, are there any plans to offer training programs for local residents of Codroy Valley to prepare them for potential careers in this new industry?

  5. Could you describe the process for shipping the Hydrogen product from Newfoundland and Labrador to Europe? What environmental impact might this shipping process have, and what safety measures and protocols will be instituted to ensure minimal environmental harm?

  6. Could you identify the scientific experts evaluating the potential harm of this project to local bird ecosystems and explain whether they're considering both short and long-term impacts? Is there an assumption that local avian life will adapt and thrive despite the project?

  7. Where is it planned to store hydrogen and ammonia prior to shipment to Europe, and what are the associated byproducts and consequences of this process?

Community's Perceived Project Disadvantages


During the community event, the CVADA encouraged community members to share their potential drawbacks and disadvantages with Project Nujio’qonik. Again, it's important to note that these statements are not facts but reflect some community members' personal views, perceptions and understanding. Our action plan aims to verify and validate these statements by consulting with key stakeholders involved in Project Nujio’qoniks. This rigorous process ensures we are well-informed before the Community Comment Period, enabling us to thoroughly understand the project's potential impact.


There is an understanding that Project Nujio’qonik is expected to:

  1. Impose catastrophic consequences on the community’s economic viability. A significant portion of our community depends on local tourism. This and future projects threaten our livelihood and way of life in the Codroy Valley. Our local tourist-related businesses employ many of our community members, so many of us will be unemployed when even a small handful of local businesses fail. With hundreds of hunting, fishing, and birding permits and hundreds of tourists visiting the protected estuary to see the rare and endangered migratory birds, our small businesses rely on the purchases of our food, accommodations, and services. If the moose is scared away, tourists are deterred from the idea of hunting or fishing within the view of wind turbines, migratory birds are diverted from the valley, hazardous materials run off and contaminate the Codroy River, and the tourists find the once-pristine Codroy Valley an unappealing travel destination when decorated with wind turbines, our community will suffer far more catastrophic consequences than learning how to endure a mere visual inconvenience.

  2. Result in significant long-term financial burdens for Provincial and Federal infrastructure. Wind energy projects will pose significant financial long-term demands on Provincial and Federal infrastructure that will be shirked by for-profit corporations, requiring taxpayers to shoulder these costs. These demands will include road repair from their use of our highways and community roads, power distribution, search and rescue, fire response, hazardous materials removal, and the safe removal of abandoned wind turbines when the corporations decide to cease operations to avoid outstanding expenses and debt. The corporate boards and leaders with good intentions now will be different from the ones obsessed with profit who will operate them in the future.

  3. Impair our ability to take care of ourselves. We do not have a municipality, and many consequential impacts on our local resources and services will compromise what services we have set up for ourselves. An example is World Energy GH2's expected reliance on our small volunteer fire department; we fund ourselves through our local fund-raisers. How are we to fund World Energy GH2's substantial support requirement? All of our volunteers run businesses or have full-time jobs; who in our community would think to volunteer their time for fire response when the demands of fire response double and may require them to put out the fires of these massive wind turbines?

  4. Reduce Codroy Valley's property values due to the unsightly wind turbines, impacting tourism and the area's overall attractiveness, representing a significant portion of our residents' capital equity.

  5. Place the responsibility for the disposal and related costs on the taxpayer when corporations decide to abandon and dissolve their corporations to avoid the costs of the removal and cleanup of aged wind turbines.

  6. Cause concern due to severe weather in our region, including annual escalation of wind speeds and storm severity. Severe storms and hurricanes like Fiona may pose a threat to the wind turbine infrastructure.

  7. Impose health impacts and reduced life expectancy similar to other Canadian communities near wind turbines due to the contaminants, low-frequency vibrations, and noise that are believed to contribute to these issues.

  8. Hinder access and use of land, rivers, timber, and remote cabins disrupting the traditional lifestyle that has been part of our community for centuries.

  9. Potentially lead to negative impacts on soil, plant life, fish, the environment, and small wildlife due to the position of some proposed wind turbines and their contribution to run-off into the Codroy River. Hazardous chemicals and materials may affect our way of life, and we fear the provincial government might underestimate the gravity of these impacts.

  10. Irreversibly disrupt natural habitats for migrating birds and the lifecycle of bats, similar to removing wolves in Yellowstone. This disruption will trigger an unexpected chain reaction, imploding the wildlife ecosystem that has been our home for centuries.


Questions About the Potential Disadvantages


Community Questions for the Provincial Government:

  1. What guarantees does the Government provide regarding the future growth and viability of the Green Hydrogen market?

  2. Where can we find the government-approved documentation for installing the Meteorological Evaluation Towers (MET Towers)? Who signed off on them, considering the potential impacts of installing five in the Codroy Valley Area?

  3. Has the Government already approved the installation of the MET Towers, and if so, who authorized it and when? Why wasn't there a consultation of those operating businesses in those areas?

  4. Will there be an evaluation of potential water system impacts due to run-off and watersheds conducted by the Government or World Energy GH2?

  5. What strategies are in place to safeguard the ponds and streams flowing into the Grand Codroy River and Little Codroy River?

  6. What parts of the Codroy Valley and nearby areas are under consideration for future wind turbine projects? Who made this decision? Will there be community consultation, as this trail significantly contributes to local businesses that rely on tourism?

  7. What is the projected impact on land and cabin owners in the areas where World Energy GH2's wind turbines and power lines will be installed, and what compensation considerations exist?

  8. How does the Government anticipate Project Nujio’qonik will influence property values in the area, and what mitigation strategies will protect residents' financial stability?

  9. Will there be any restrictions or limitations to public access on the roads leading to the wind turbines?

  10. Will proximity rules be enforced around the wind turbines, potentially limiting community hunting, fishing, or woodcutting access?

  11. What requirements are in place for World Energy GH2 and future companies to engage with the residents of Codroy Valley?

  12. How might personal and business relationships influence Project Nujio’qonik’s development from the Government's perspective?

  13. We have access online to documents on the Newfoundland Government Website that describe the approval process, but where is the government's communication channel with its provincial citizens about the government’s motives, interests, reasoning, decisions, and actions? World Energy GH2 has pamphlets, maps, flyers, FAQs, a website and news releases that inform us about what they are doing and their vision, motives, understanding and opinions. Similarly, where is the government’s communication channel? Why are we doing this?

  14. Why isn't a Federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required before the Province makes a decision? Can you explain the approval process that enables World Energy GH2 to utilize the selected offshore wind turbines for on-land use - something we understand to be a first-of-a-kind?

  15. Reflecting on the historical issues faced by the Provincial Government with major infrastructure undertakings such as the Churchill Falls Hydroelectric Project and Muskrat Falls which have resulted in major negotiation failures, huge cost overruns, and escalated provincial debt - what are the concrete steps being taken by the government to prevent a recurrence of these issues as they engage with World Energy GH2 and other potential partners in the Green Hydrogen market? How is the Newfoundland and Labrador Government strategizing to protect its interests from potential exploitation by private and corporate entities in upcoming projects? As Newfoundland and Labrador contemplates the World Energy GH2 proposal, and considering our leadership consists of a medical doctor and a lawyer holding elected office, what specific safeguards are being implemented to prevent them from being outmaneouvered by CEOs, billionaires, and corporations who employ high-end consulting services?

Community Questions for World Energy GH2:

  1. What will the environmental assessment report reveal about potential health conditions due to living near a wind turbine?

  2. How much noise will a wind turbine generate, what type of noise should we expect, how close will people need to be to hear it, and will any residents near the wind turbine sites be affected?

  3. What pollutants will be released into the environment during the construction and operation of the wind turbines in the Codroy Valley?

  4. According to experts, how do wind turbines affect the migration of birds and bats?

  5. Can you provide examples of successful windmill projects near similar estuaries or wetlands?

  6. What part of wind turbine components can be recycled, and what are their estimated lifecycles and disposal plans?

  7. What is the planned disposal strategy for these wind turbines? Will they be disposed of on the island, and if so, what methods or processes will be employed?

  8. During cold weather, is de-icing required for the blades of the wind turbines? If so, what methods or techniques are employed for de-icing?

  9. What strategies are in place to safeguard the ponds and streams flowing into the Grand Codroy River and Little Codroy River?

  10. Will there be an evaluation of potential water system impacts due to run-off and watersheds conducted by the Government or World Energy GH2?

  11. What's the plan for long-term wind turbine maintenance, and who bears that responsibility?

  12. What emergency and contingency measures will World Energy GH2 establish for the wind turbines, and what role will our local volunteer fire department play?

  13. Could the maintenance of the blades on these wind turbines pose concerns regarding the release of fine particulates that could potentially harm the environment or cause respiratory health issues for residents living in close proximity to the wind turbines?

  14. How many wind turbines are planned to be installed beyond the initial 164 in the Port au Port area? Specifically, we would like to know the number of turbines intended for the Anguille Mountain area and the specific locations where they will be placed.


CVADA’s Actions to Achieve Community Clarity


Now that the Codroy Valley Area Development Association (CVADA) has gathered community opinions and questions regarding World Energy GH2's Project Nujio’qonik in the Codroy Valley, the CVADA will now request the Provincial Government and World Energy GH2 to clarify our understanding and beliefs and answer our questions. Once the organizations have responded, the CVADA will publicize their responses, allowing the community to access and understand their perspectives and plans.


Our Action Plan

Step 1: Listen (June)

  1. CVADA Quarterly Community Collaboration Session on Waste Management (DONE)

    1. The primary component of this step is an interactive session that allows the CVADA and the community to understand what they think, their opinions, sentiment, and questions. This allows the CVADA how best to support the Codroy Valley community.

  2. CVADA Community Member Sentiment Survey (DONE)

    1. Those community members unable to attend the Community Collaboration Session can communicate their sentiments and questions to their local CVADA representative.

    2. Publish the Community Sentiment Report (DONE)

Step 2: Establish Clarity (June - August)

Engage with the offices of the respective stakeholders to provide the Codroy Valley community with the answers, clarifications and validations they require to obtain clarity of the possible scenarios.

For each of the stakeholders, we will be:

  • Validating the Community’s Perceived Advantages and Disadvantages: The CVADA will seek to validate the perceived advantages and disadvantages of the waste management project, addressing community uncertainties.

  • Getting Answers to Outstanding Questions from World Energy GH2 and our Government: The CVADA will actively engage with World Energy GH2 and our Provincial Government to gather answers to the community’s questions and any additional information that may be relevant.

Stakeholders and Organization Contact List:

  • Engage with the Office of the Premier of Labrador & Newfoundland (Andrew Furey)

  • Engage with the Office of the Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology (Andrew Parsons)

  • Engage with the Office of the St. George's - Humber Member of the House of Assembly (Scott Reid)

  • Engage with the various representatives of World Energy GH2

  • Engage with other organizations as required (i.e. Neighbouring communities, etc.)

Publishing Responses: The CVADA will publish the information it receives on its website for easy community access and reference. We welcome responses and clarifications from those we have contacted, ensuring transparency and convenience.


Step 3: Prepare (August - September)


The CVADA will support the Codroy Valley community as it prepares for the Public Comment Period sometime in the fall of 2023. This may include:

  1. Taking a Final Community Sentiment Poll: Conduct a final community poll to gather the community's sentiment to capture any shifts or changes in the community's perception and sentiment after they have had the opportunity to learn and clarify their understanding through the engagement with stakeholders during step 2.

  2. Developing Informational Resources: Create easily accessible and understandable materials explaining the environmental implications, potential benefits, and risks associated with Project Nujio’qoniks. Provide facts, data, and case studies from similar projects to help community members make informed decisions.

  3. Building Connections & Alliances: Establish partnerships with environmental organizations, wildlife conservation groups, and other like-minded entities to enhance the impact of the advocacy efforts.

  4. Engaging with Decision-Makers: Reach out to local government officials, representatives, or relevant authorities responsible for evaluating the proposal. Schedule meetings, present research, and express concerns respectfully. Advocate for transparent decision-making processes and urge decision-makers to consider the long-term environmental consequences.

Step 3: Support (October+)

  • Support the Codroy Valley community during the Public Comment Period set out in the Government’s bid proposal evaluation process.

Footnote: The specific date may vary, possibly occurring earlier or later. The Community Comment Period spans 50 days, during which the Government welcomes input from the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador. This period is part of the 70-day Government Review phase that begins immediately after World Energy GH2 submits their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and precedes the Minister's Decision and Conditions of Release. The timing of this step is determined by World Energy GH2's submission date.



A message of gratitude to the Codroy Valley Community from the Codroy Valley Area Development Association (CVADA) board members.


With the best of intentions, we sincerely present this document to the Codroy Valley community, which we wholeheartedly support. We are pleased to highlight the dedicated efforts of our 16 CVADA board members, who chose to volunteer over 250 hours to fulfill various responsibilities. These included planning, organizing, and hosting the community event, collecting poll results, and preparing this report.


We take great pride in our committed board, whose teamwork, camaraderie, and mutual support exemplify our passion. Our objective is to assist and support the community in understanding and forming positions on World Energy GH2's Project Nujio'qonik without the board member's personal biases or opinions. Additionally, we eagerly anticipate supporting various community initiatives, such as youth and senior programs, assisting with food sustainability programs, tourism development, and the growth of local businesses. We are particularly excited about actively contributing to the maintenance and improvement of local trails, including the forthcoming enhancements to the Starlite Trail.


We extend our sincere gratitude to the community for their cooperation and engagement as we explore innovative collaboration and engagement methods to better support their interests. Of course, feedback is always welcome as we continuously strive to improve our support for the Codroy Valley community; to do so, we invite you to share a discussion with one of us.


Thank you.


The Codroy Valley Area Development Association Board Members.


Craig Collier (Codroy), Brad Moore (Codroy), Dion Devoe (Great Codroy), Lucy Poirier (Great Codroy), Shelley Gale (Millville), Ron Laudadio (Millville), April Gillam (O'Regan's), Amy Taylor (Searston), Chris Bruce (Searston), Francis Peddle (South Branch), Tracy Keeping (St. Andrews), Lana Thorimbert (St. Andrews), Carolyn Aucoin (Tompkins), Nancy Power (Tompkins), Elissa Hinks (Upper Ferry), Dale Lomond (Upper Ferry).



We invite you to post comments about this report on our CVADA Facebook Group if you wish.



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