Parks Canada Approves Relocation of Power Lines in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Parks Canada has recently approved the relocation of power lines in the Ingonish area of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Nova Scotia Power will begin clearing the work area as early as October 7 and work is expected to last until early 2020.

Parks Canada has a rigorous review and environmental assessment process as a federal land manager under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act that ensures healthy ecosystems are maintained. This proposal underwent a detailed impact analysis (DIA) which involved public and Mi’kmaw consultation. Through the DIA process, Parks Canada has determined this proposal is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects and is well designed to avoid and mitigate unfavourable impacts.

The project includes the relocation of 3.6 km of power lines along the Cabot Trail in the Ingonish area within Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The current power lines are in a wooded area that passes through Ingonish Beach Campground, Clyburn Brook, and Broad Cove Campground. Rebuilding the new lines near the roadside will help reduce incidents of fallen trees and improve accessibility for maintenance and outage restoration as well as outage response times.

Parks Canada is working collaboratively with Nova Scotia Power to relocate power lines while minimizing any potential negative impact on the environment.

Below is a summary of the questions we received during the consultation period and the mitigation measures for each:

Q: How will the proposed project improve electrical service to the area?

A: Completing the work will make it easier for Nova Scotia Power crews to quickly respond when outages occur. Placing the power lines near the roadside will improve accessibility for repair work, decreasing the frequency and duration of any future outages.

Q: Will the work cause delays for the travelling public?

A: To complete this project safely, targeted sections of the Cabot Trail will be reduced by a single lane of traffic Monday through Thursday each week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Traffic control personnel will be on-site to safely guide motorists around the work site and to minimize traffic disruptions. Approximately 300 – 350 metres of road will be closed at a time to establish a safe construction zone that will reduce traffic to single direction due to limited paved road. This is a common construction practice to establish a clearly marked construction zone for the safety of public and construction workers.

Q: When will the work start? Are you expecting delays in getting this work done?

A: Nova Scotia Power is working collaboratively with Parks Canada to relocate power lines while minimizing any potential negative impact on the nearby ecosystem. It’s important that the public has an opportunity to be informed about this project and to express any concerns. That is why the public consultation process was so important.

Construction related activities such as tree trimming and off-road line removal will commence after approval from Parks Canada and conducted in a manner that will avoid disturbance to local bird species and impact on visitor experience.

The work is expected to last until early 2020.