New Brunswick

Saint John community group wants to stop TransCanada drill test

A community group in Saint John's Red Head neighbourhood wants to stop a plan by TransCanada Corporation to drill test holes on the floor of the Bay of Fundy.

TransCanada Corporation says the work will not be invasive

Lynaya Astephen is the spokesperson for the Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association, a community group that wants to stop a plan by TransCanada to drill test holes on the floor of the Bay of Fundy. (Connell Smith/CBC)

A community group in Saint John's Red Head neighbourhood wants to stop a plan by TransCanada Corp. to drill test holes on the floor of the Bay of Fundy.

The company is preparing to gather soil and rock samples through a series of test bores that will be undertaken from a rig mounted on a barge.

The rig is currently being assembled on Port of Saint John property near the Diamond Jubilee cruise ship terminal.

The test samples are required to complete engineering and design work for the company's application to the National Energy Board for the proposed Energy East Pipeline marine terminal.

Questions from the community

"We're asking that the work be stopped," said Lynaya Astephen, a spokesperson for the Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association. 

"Some of us are still waiting to become intervenors through the National Energy Board, yet this work is being done beforehand."

Astephen said the community group should have been consulted before test drilling was approved.

She says there are questions about noise, traffic, impact on wildlife and what permits were obtained. She also wants to know if First Nations groups have consented to the work.

Tim Duboyce,  a TransCanada spokesperson, said the company drilling is not "a very invasive operation.".

"You need to be able to ascertain or assess exactly what is the composition of the soil and the rock because you're going to be building on top of it," he said.

Duboyce said the $9-million drilling operation will take three weeks or longer depending on weather conditions and will make very little noise.

No permits were required for the test bores, said Duboyce, although authorization was required for the use of the barge during drilling.

Duboyce said a community liaison committee created by the company was informed about the drilling last month.

About the Author

Connell Smith is a reporter with CBC in Saint John. He can be reached at 632-7726 Connell.smith@cbc.ca

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