Residents of Montreal’s South Shore are asking for a provincial environmental review before Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt AB goes ahead with a C$7-billion gigafactory investment.
At an information session for local officials last week, nearly 150 residents of Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec “denounced the fact that they were not consulted by the Swedish battery giant or the city before the project—billed as the biggest private investment in Quebec history—was announced with great fanfare,” CBC reports. “They also raised concerns about pollution, the shortage of housing, and road traffic around the plant site.”
- Concise headlines. Original content. Timely news and views from a select group of opinion leaders. Special extras.
- Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
- The Weekender: The climate news you need.
Several people demanded a review by the province’s Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE). Premier François Legault had previously said the project fell below the regulatory threshold for BAPE to get involved. But “in February, the threshold to trigger a review for cathode manufacturing increased from 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes,” CBC says. The Northvolt project comes in at 56.000 tonnes per year.
Saint-Basile-le-Grand Mayor Yves Lessard said the community will consult residents “step by step”, even though it has no power to prevent Northvolt from buying a large expanse of development land that extends from the town to nearby McMasterville.
“If we fail to find solutions to these two challenges, the social acceptability of the project may well crumble,” Lessard said, citing local concerns about housing and transportation. “Here, we need to know the nature of the project and make sure that what we’re proposing to the public passes the test.”