Public participation process
Hydro-Québec believes it is essential to inform and consult communities affected by its projects. In an effort to ensure community acceptance of its 120-kV Grand-Brûlé–Saint-Sauveur Supply Line project, the company began, in June 2012, a genuine and open public participation process to encourage the residents concerned by the project to express themselves and contribute to create the best possible project for the region.
To date, more than 95 meetings have been held with elected officials, managers, representatives of various local organizations, landowners and citizens affected by the project to gather their concerns and respond to their information needs.
In December 2013, Hydro-Québec also created a Regional technical committee to improve the project. This committee was made up of land use, environment, and landscape specialists, mandated by the affected municipal authorities (municipalities and MRCs), the Conférence régionale des élus des Laurentides – Projet Paysages Laurentides, the Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides and Hydro-Québec.
Its mandate was to examine the scenarios studied by Hydro-Québec to meet the increased demand in the MRCs of Pays-d’en-Haut and Laurentides, and to recommend one or several solutions based on the project with the least impact and reconciling the needs, interests and obligations of the different stakeholders.
After nine meetings, the regional technical committee (RTC) completed its work in October 2014. At the suggestion of committee members, an optimized route was developed and presented. This optimized route incorporates suggestions from the RTC’s work and public consultations held during the winter 2013 information and consultation process on the proposed route variants studied.
Projects in collaboration with the communities concerned
During summer and fall 2012, Hydro-Québec met with the official representatives of the communities affected by this line project to explain the type of project, the reasons for it, the zone selected to carry out technical and environmental studies and analyses, as well as the public consultation process under way. At this stage, over 20 meetings were held and we were able to gather the expectations and concerns of the local communities so as to best adapt the project to the region’s realities. A first general information bulletin [pdf] was distributed during these meetings.
The project team held over fifty meetings with publics affected by the three variants studied, as well as the preferred variant arrived at after comparing the proposals according to various criteria: technical, economic, environmental and integration into the landscape.
Hydro-Québec agreed to extend this consultation step by many months to meet the information needs of the community, to consider and study other proposed electricity supply scenarios suggested by the municipality of Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard and to integrate the concerns and opinions expressed, in order to propose a regional solution with the least impact.
For more information on the open house session held in:
- Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard - March 22, 2013 [pdf — in French only]
- Sainte-Adèle - March 20, 2013 [pdf — in French only]
- Val-David and Val-Morin - March 19, 2013 [pdf — in French only]
- Barkmere and Montcalm and Mont-Tremblant - March 13, 2013 [pdf — in French only]
Information-consultation optimized route map
In a May 30, 2014, press release, Hydro-Québec committed to again consult residents concerned by the project once the regional technical committee (RTC) completed its work.
After fostering discussions with local specialists to propose a regional solution with the least impact, the company held a series of meetings as of mid-October 2014 with elected officials in the Laurentides, landowners affected by the optimized route, citizens and local organizations. In all, more than 25 meetings were held by the project team with affected publics.
Numerous communication tools were used during this stage, including:
- Public Consultation – Winter 2013 [pdf — 1.5 MB]
- Project News - August 2014 [pdf — in French only — 3.7 MB]
- Optimized route map - October 2014 [pdf — in French only — 1.1 MB]
- Landscape Map - February 2015 [pdf — 10,37 MB — in French only]
- Biophysical and human environment map – February 2015 [pdf — 12,97 MB — in French only]
Information on solution selected
On June 19, Hydro-Québec presented the representatives of the communities in the Laurentides region with the lower-impact scenario for the Grand-Brûlé–Saint-Sauveur supply line project. The route for this 120-kV line, which is needed to meet the growing demand for electricity in the region, was developed after three years of technical and environmental studies and following a comprehensive public participation process that consisted of more than 95 meetings.
The comments and feedback received helped improve the project.
To develop the lower-impact route, Hydro-Québec worked closely with regional experts and maintained constructive exchanges with residents:
- 11 electricity supply scenarios were studied, including those proposed by the Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard advisory committee and the specialists mandated by this municipality
- 4 line route variants were subject to a comparative analysis, including one proposed by the Pays-d’en-Haut regional county municipality (MRC)
- Existing line corridors were used over more than 55% of the route’s length
- A new shorter and more compact type of tower was developed
- The width of the new corridors was reduced, thereby minimizing the requisite clearing work
- Tower placement was adjusted several times
- The line’s visual impact on the landscape was reduced
- The line route was modified at several locations, particularly in order to move it further away from sensitive areas
Hydro-Québec has made all of the necessary efforts to obtain input from the community and has taken this feedback into consideration to improve the initially proposed project. Moreover, the selected line route is the only one that makes it possible to avoid the built environment and the expropriation of residences.