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Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor Leo Abbass speaking with reporters in an archival photograph. (CBC)

The mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is warning that the proposed Lower Churchill hydroelectric project could make the community's housing problem worse and cost businesses and residents money.

Speaking Thursday at an environmental assessment panel's hearing into the project, Mayor Leo Abbass said it's already a challenge to find an apartment in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

"If you were looking for an apartment in town today, or tomorrow you'd have a very difficult time," said Abbass, who expects the Lower Churchill project will only make that problem worse.

As the closest community to the project, Abbass is also worried it will put a strain on the town's infrastructure.

He said roads, the water supply, firefighting resources and even the dump will need upgrading to handle the direct and indirect impacts of the project.

"The town will incur significant costs that it can not reasonably expect its residents and businesses to bare in increased taxes," he said.

The public hearings continue this afternoon.