A Manitoba environmental group says it may need more time to complete a preliminary examination on the impact of the Wuskwatim hydroelectric project planned for northern Manitoba.

The Canadian Nature Federation says more time may be needed for the pre-hearing process, which is scheduled to wrap up by the end of January. Parties concerned about the project gave Manitoba Hydro 1,500 questions about the dam; Hydro responded with a 10,000-page document.

Federation spokesperson Gaile Whelan-Enns says because of the sheer volume of material, they may need more time to decide what – if any – follow-up questions should be asked.

"We're at the point now where we think we have the tool to actually be able to review and put our assessment of the answers we're getting into something readable," she says.

"We had an adjustment in the schedule on the first round of questions. It follows from that then that those reviewing the answers and dealing with answers on two sets of formal questions pretty close on the same time may well need more time."

An official with the Clean Environment Commission says it would consider a request for more time.

The formal environmental hearing into Wuskwatim is scheduled to begin in March in Winnipeg, Thompson and The Pas. The Wuskwatim Hydro Generating station is scheduled for completion in 2009.

Links related to this story:

  • MANITOBA HYDRO: More on Wuskwatim