Montreal

Ground broken for $6.5B hydro project on Quebec's Lower North Shore

Construction work has started on a new multibillion dollar hydroelectric plant on the Romaine River, which runs along Quebec's Lower North Shore.

Construction work has started on a new multibillion dollar hydroelectric plant on the Romaine River, which runs along Quebec's Lower North Shore.

The La Romaine plant, which includes four dams, will take 11 years to build at a cost of $6.5 billion.

Premier Jean Charest called the project a "powerful economic development lever for Quebec" that will create jobs and "contribute to the fight against climate change."

The four dams will have the capacity to generate 1,550 megawatts, enough energy to meet the yearly needs of two cities the size of Laval.

Most of the electricity generated at La Romaine will be exported, with expected profits to rise as high as $2 billion in the first 12 years, the government estimated.

More than 2,000 jobs will be created, said Natural Resources Minister Claude Béchard.

Environmentalists have objected to the project because of its potential impact on the river.

Quebec signed partnership agreements with Innu communities in the area before proceeding with the project.

Nutashkuan Innu Chief François Bellefleur said the project is a great opportunity for the Innu Nation to prove it is committed to regional development.

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