By Charles Bury
and Rita Legault
The Trans-Quebec and Maritimes Pipeline has a major hassle on its hands. Deer hunting may throw the company's rushed construction schedule out of whack.
The natural gas pipeline's builders have realized that despite earlier plans to suspend construction during the fall hunting season, they may have to continue building to finish on schedule.
TQM spokesman Jean Simard said that the gas company has polled landowners who have signed over rights-of-way to see if they would object to construction continuing during the hunting season on the third stretch of the pipeline between Waterloo and East Hereford.
Simard said such a deal would depend on permission from the provincial govermnent.
A TQM negociator spoke to a local fish and game club director and said the pipeline company must either lease all the undeveloped within one kilometer of their right-of-say, in oder to prevent hunting there, or face a two-month delay - pulling out their crews for two months starting in mid-September.
The TQM right-of-way is 220 kilometers long and almost all of it runs through popular hunting territory. Much of the land the company would rent is already leased to fish and game clubs and individual hunters. And the fall hunting season opens in about a month.
Simard said the vast majority of landowners were in favor of allowing construction to continue during the hunting season.
Simard said that TQM may not have to build during that period, but that it was covering its bets in case of further delays.
"We are starting to get a little behind schedule," he said, adding that the pipeline builders were delayed by more than two weeks of detailed route hearin in Orford in late July.
He said the company wants to keep the options open if there are any further delays.
To top off the screw up, TQM's builder Janin Construction apparently has a performance clause in its contracts calling for penalties if the work isn't completed bv November. And some parts of the route still await final approval from the National Energy Board.
Simard said TQM is expectincy a prompt reply from the NEB and that it needs one as soon as possible to ensure it can complete construction in November.
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