The Ruperts Reverence group is pressing the Mayors’ Council of James Bay Municipality to ask the Quebec Environment Ministry for a biodiversity study on the effect of damming the Rupert River.

The Mayors’ Council initially passed a resolution in favour of a study. But the council later decided to postpone the request. RR President Eric Gagnon, told the Nation that Chibougamau Mayor Donald Dunbar explained his community is financially dependent on Hydro-Quebec, and that the crown utility might threaten to discontinue its “financial partnerships” between HQ and Chibougamau over the issue.

Gagnon says the position of the James Bay Municipality is very important as 80 per cent of the Rupert River flows through land under its control. He is hoping to have a study done so that light will be shed on the “numerous worrisome aspects” of the Eastmain and Rupert Hydro projects. He said such a study would only show the James Bay Municipality is looking at the future of the territory. Gagnon wants a transparent process that allows for full consultation of all the inhabitants of the territory.

At present the James Bay Munipality is the largest in the world with 350,000 square kilometres but with an official population of only 1,422 (2001 Census). The Mayors’ Council is made up of the mayors of seven towns in the territory: Chibougamau, Lebel-sur-Quevillon, Radisson, Matagami, Val-Paradis and Beaucanton. The James Bay Municipality was created under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.