NB Power CEO Gaetan Thomas gestures towards the visualizations for the three Mactaquac options, including the ‘removal’ option, which seems to remove not only the dam and its headpond, but all other infrastructure and trees as well.
Monday NB Power announced its public engagement process related to the Mactaquac Dam decision (rebuild, decommission, or remove). Five public meetings are planned in the region for a nine-day period in October, all mid-week or I’d be heading up, and they also have an online survey for people to share their opinions and values. They have also released a few draft reports for comment, including the frugally scoped and costed Social Impact Comparative Review undertaken by Dillon who is also doing the First Nations engagement (no reports yet available on that). This is all a very tightly constrained process and I will watch with interest how it proceeds and how (if) the resulting data is synthesized and used.
The logo of the new Halifax-based clothing brand.
I have been seeing a few new t-shirts around lately, riffing on the East Coast Lifestyle brand (the logo of which centers on a classic nautical anchor), but proudly featuring a spurting oil derrick, and the name ‘Oilfield Lifestyle’. It turns out this is a Halifax product, indeed by a member of our school family. I have always known, as someone who grew up in a pulp and paper town, how otherwise unattractive infrastructure that provides a livelihood can become an important landscape feature (e.g. for giving directions) and doggedly defended as part of local identity. I think this new brand is another example of that kind of normalization. It suggests that not only can people become accustomed and attached to infrastructure that provides a recognizable recreational and aesthetic amenity (like a headpond), but even that without such assets. It is not surprising this derives from the east coast; many east coasters do the long commute to Alberta to work in the oil sands, and so the lifestyle this brand supports is one that includes many red-eye flights. As a landscape scholar, however, I am interested by the use of a stylized but archaic-looking derrick rather than pump jack, pipeline or open-pit mine. I wonder how accurate this branding is of the landscape in which its wearers toil.