Summary Analysis of the Impact of the Romaine Hydroelectric Project on the Health of the Population: Monitoring the Situation in the Municipality of Havre-Saint-Pierre
The Romaine project offers a good illustration of all the risks of implementing major development projects in northern Quebec. The first major hydroelectric site in many years to be established so close to a small community, this project is opening the way for many other large-scale projects. Havre-Saint-Pierre is one of the eight municipalities which, along with the two Aboriginal communities of Ekuanitshit and Nutashkuan, constitute the Regional County Municipality (RCM) of Minganie on the North Shore. Havre-Saint-Pierre is the central point of Minganie and the seat of the RCM and of many governmental, municipal and regional services. The local economy, traditionally centered on fishing, has branched out in recent years.
Hydro-Québec's Romaine project is aimed at the development of a 1 550 MW hydroelectric complex on the Romaine river north of the municipality. Construction work on this complex consisting of four generating stations began in May 2009 and should continue until 2020. When the work got under way, more than a thousand workers from all over Quebec converged on Havre-Saint-Pierre to work on the site. Since that time, two main camps have been built to house the workers. The first camp is located about 50 km northeast of the community of Havre-Saint-Pierre. The back-and-forth travel of workers moving between the various regions of Quebec, the other North Shore communities and the construction site is occurring side by side with daily life in the municipality. However, the border between the construction site and the municipality is not entirely clear, and the neighbourhood has not come together smoothly.
The following summary analysis proposes to describe briefly the principal impacts of the Romaine project on the population of the municipality of Havre-Saint-Pierre examined in light of the affected health determinants.