Canadian Consulting Engineer

Quebec plans $50-billion development with Plan Nord

April 14, 2015   By CCE

Engineers in Quebec will be revitalized if the province’s billion dollar scheme for resource development in the north starts to materialize this time round.

Premiere Philippe Couillard has relaunched “Plan Nord,” to develop natural resources in a huge swath of the province. The area covers over 1.2 million square kilometres, almost three quarters of the province’s land mass.

The original Plan Nord was proposed in 2011 by then-Premier Jean Charest. Couillard said the difference between the two plans is mostly with a new focus on sustainable development.

Announced on April 8, the new plan envisions investment of $50 billion over the next 20 years, with $22 billion of that provided by the province’s energy utility, Hydro-Québec. The province hopes the remaining $28 billion will come from private investment.

While the plan is to stimulate the province’s economic development, it will also support local communities and First Nations. Half the land will be dedicated to environmental protection and biodiversity.

An analysis by Blake, Cassels & Graydon says that in the short term the government is focusing on six sectors, mining, forestry, energy, wildlife, tourism and biofoods.

The energy policy will not only focus on hydroelectricity and wind power, but also has a new emphasis on LNG, natural gas and hydrocarbons.

Infrastructure is also included. The government will be preparing a transportation plan that will likely include expanded rail links from the north to the Port of Sept-Iles on the St. Lawrence River, improvements to airport facilities (such as the recent announcement to expand Nunavik airport), and improvements to highways such as Routes 389 and 138.

The Premier said he hopes 10,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the plan, with a further 9,700 jobs in mines and related fields.

To read an analysis by Charles Kazaz and Anne Drost of Blake, Cassels & Graydon, dated April 13, 2015, click here.

To read a CTV news report about the Quebec government’s announcement, click here.


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