Don’t rush Mayo B without regulatory green light: NDP

Don't rush Mayo B: NDP Yukon Energy is taking an unnecessary risk by rushing through the Mayo B project without all the regulatory approvals, says Steve Cardiff.

Don’t rush Mayo B: NDP

Yukon Energy is taking an unnecessary risk by rushing through the Mayo B project without all the regulatory approvals, says Steve Cardiff.

The $120-million dam expansion could become a boondoggle if the power utility gets stumped during next month’s hearing by the Yukon Utilities Board, said the New Democratic Party MLA.

“I believe that they should follow due process and that the hearings should be had before the (construction) contracts are issued,” he said.

Last week, Yukon Energy announced that an $84.5-million contract with Peter Kiewit Sons Inc. has been signed to build the Mayo B expansion. The utility has already received near approval from the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board. All it’s really missing on the regulatory front is an energy certificate from the utilities board.

And though Cardiff is short on what might come up during the hearings, he believes that governments shouldn’t push forward with projects that aren’t a done deal.

“If you read through the auditor general’s report on Highways and Public Works, the Department of Education, Yukon Housing and the (Mayo-Dawson transmission line), risk management is something she sees lacking in all of those departments,” said Cardiff.

“(Yukon Energy) is taking a calculated risk with taxpayers’ dollars,” he said.

The contractors won’t start building before every regulatory approval is given – including a final decision document from YESAB and the energy certificate, said Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson, in an e-mail.

And the reason Yukon Energy is anticipating the regulatory process so eagerly is because Ottawa put a deadline on the $71 million that it’s lending to the project.

“From Yukon Energy’s point of view, it would be irresponsible for us to sit and do nothing until the YUB and the YESAB processes are complete, since that would mean we would miss our deadline of March 31, 2012 and would lose the $71 million committed by the federal government,” wrote Patterson. (James Munson)