Mactaquac — NB Power has finally found the answer to their billion-dollar question: “What do we do with this damned dam?” The gracious and benevolent Irving family has offered to buy the Mactaquac Generating Station for a generous $8.2 million. As part of the deal, NB Power will cede full control of the dam’s operations by the end of April 2015. J.D. Irving, Limited will immediately begin retrofitting the machinery to provide an honest New Brunswick service: mashing up forests into a soft, pulpy mass of wood juice.
New Brunswick’s saviours are bringing the province back to its roots by using the Saint John River for log driving — the old practice of floating logs down a river to the pulp mill. Irving Pulp and Paper claims that this new, yet old, initiative will create 200 jobs for the province and is more environmentally friendly than trucking felled trees across New Brunswick’s bumpy roads.
“We need more pulp mills and more jobs in today’s economy,” boomed an enthusiastic James Irving at a press conference in Keswick Ridge on Tuesday. “There are too many benefits to count here. Green shipping via the river, job creation, people getting exercise while working on the water — and I know I could use that last one!” bellowed Irving, laughing while grabbing and jiggling his jolly, ample belly like a happy Santa Claus of employment.
The exoskeleton of the dam itself will be reinforced and remain largely the same, except that instead of churning out frothing brown river water, it will now spit out fresh wood pulp, which will be collected 50 feet farther down the river by large synthetic aluminum nets.
Despite the obvious positive benefits of the deal, some New Brunswick residents are wary of the ramifications.
“This means NB Power will be generating less power on their own. They’ll have to buy from Hydro-Québec, thus creating more debt, while relying more on Point Lepreau, increasing the risk of nuclear fallout,” said spoilsport extraordinaire Tess Migden, a political science professor at University of New Brunswick.
“The Irvings will be clear-cutting along the Mactaquac area, ruining it as a tourist destination and as a habitat to flora and fauna. Plus, mills just stink. We don’t need another Miramichi,” she added spitefully.
Despite Migden’s attempts to ruin a good thing, many in Keswick Ridge are polishing their resumés to apply as log drivers, with dozens of Fredericton students also hoping to work summer positions while staying at a new logging camp being built in Mactaquac Provincial Park. Those interested in a full, rewarding career can apply here.