Two hours and 14 minutes. That’s how much time Chisasibi residents would have to evacuate their community before it was totally submerged in water if anything happened to the LG-2 dam, according to Hydro-Quebec.
That’s an especially troubling fact considering the Radio-Canada television report – that Hydro-Quebec tried, and failed, to keep off the air -which showed journalists were able to roam freely within the compound, undetected by security. That and subsequent reports led to abrupt changes in security at Manic-5 and LG-2.
The original report, which aired February 15, showed the Radio-Canada crew driving through underground tunnels into the heart of two major dams. It also showed them discovering a series of unlocked doors and gaining access to different rooms, most notably a room with control panels that sends electricity to Quebec and the United States.
Not one security guard was shown in the program. It was also noted that the crew did not see any surveillance cameras.
Hydro-Quebec President Andre Caille’s first response was to accuse Radio-Canada journalist Christian Latreille of gaining access to the site through some of Hydro’s workers.
“I was quite surprised that people were able to walk in, and drive into Hydro installations,” said Chisasibi Chief Abraham Rupert. “I thought it was more secure than that. There’s a lot of stress hanging over Chisasibi if anything ever happened to the dams and this just added to that. Although now security has tightened up since then.”
“I’ve spoken with Hydro and they assured me that our people that hunt near there will not be bothered when trying to get across the dams with their firearms,” added Chief Rupert.
Chisasibi Elder Margaret Cromarty was alarmed as well. “I was shocked when I heard that. It means that anyone could walk in there and open the gates. We would drown like the 10,000 caribou.”
Public Security Minister Jacques Chagnon told the Surete de Quebec to look into the situation.
“They will analyze the security procedures and protocols that Hydro-Quebec uses, it will be an audit of the quality of those procedures,” Chagnon told reporters outside a Liberal caucus meeting in Montebello, Qc.