According to the Quebec City-based newspaper, le Soleil, there are problems at EM-1 that are threatening to push the completion date of 2007 further behind.

According to the paper, obsolete equipment and an inability to foresee some of the problems has resulted in many delays.

Hydro Quebec denies the claims. Christine Martin, a spokesperson for the utility says the delays are so minimal that they are actually factored into a project of this magnitude.

“These are not delays that are threatening the scheduled completion date of 2007. There are even aspects of the project where we are in advance, such as the (completion of) camp,” she said.

Martin claims that le Soleil’s reporting was erroneous, and that in a job like this (EM-1) where people spend an inordinate amount of time together, there is bound to be infighting and complaining, but essentially that’s all it amounts to. “Everything becomes a drama,” she said.

She said there is one aspect where the construction is behind schedule, but it’s minor compared to the overall picture. “In order to build the dam in a dry place, you have to stop the water while building. This is called the galerie derivation, and it’s the only thing that is a little behind.”

“Sometimes the schedule might change because of the weather, or the delay of materials arriving, but at this point, there are no major delays.

Nadia Villeneuve, spokesperson for CSD construction, agreed, “according to the initial schedule of due dates, works will be ended in time.”

A mix-up occurred when Hydro Quebec had tentatively projected more work at the site for union members, but the reality of the project dictated otherwise.

“There was an announcement made by Hydro Quebec, which led us to believe that it would have more need of manpower this summer, autumn and winter. So it creates a certain disappointment to our members which expected to be able to work there,” said Villeneuve.

Currently, there are 450 workers working on EM-1.

“There are no problems of slowing down due to working relations. Current delays are due to problems of management, the organization of camps, dormitories, and sanitary installations. We expect an acceleration of works from the spring 2004; to resume lost time,” stated Villeneuve.

As far as the outdated equipment goes, Villeneuve said that there would have been minor delays, regardless of the age of the equipment.