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Transformer repairs could cost $15 million

PROTEST: Vandalization of hydro transformer caused thousands to lose power in Norfolk

Monte Sonnenberg - Sun Media
Tillsonburg News
Friday May 26, 2006

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

The fire set at a key transformer station south of Caledonia this week may have caused millions of dollars in damage.

On Wednesday, Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer said repairs could cost as much as $15 million.

“These are multi-millions of dollars,” she said. “They haven’t got it evaluated but that is in the ballpark.”

The mayor noted that a new transformer station was recently built near Stelco Lake Erie in the Nanticoke Industrial Park. It cost $24 million.

The Hydro One station in south Caledonia contains two transformer units. It is designed so that if one malfunctions the other continues relaying power. The station is rated for 230,000 volts.

Hydro One technicians have put one unit back in service. The second will be out of commission until further notice.

The station was sabotaged Monday afternoon following fist fights at the Argyle Street barricade in south Caledonia. The barricade was erected April 20 by natives from the Six Nations reserve.

Natives and Caledonia residents clashed when residents surrounded a vehicle carrying natives and started rocking it. Damage to the transformer station cut electricity to large sections of Haldimand and Norfolk for nearly two days.

Haldimand OPP are investigating. Police say they are on the lookout for vandals. However, reports have emerged that those responsible were taking part in the native blockade.

“As far as we know, the First Nations group drove a car through the fence and set it on fire,” Bill Dodds, Norfolk Power’s manager of energy services and telecom, said Wednesday.

Dodds would not speculate on how much repairs will cost. But he said “Certainly, it’s multiple millions of dollars.”

Hydro One spokesperson Daffyd Roderick confirmed fire caused extensive damage. Roderick said a vehicle was forced into the compound and set alight beneath critical switching equipment. Another transformer unit inside a brick building was also vandalized and badly damaged.

Hydro One has offered an initial damage estimate of $1.5 million. However, Roderick added “There’s significant damage to the station. That may change.”

Trainer said the native protesters manning the Argyle Street South barricade had been eyeing the transformer station for a long time.

“I do know this was bragged about before it happened,” Trainer said.

Following destruction of the transformer, natives removed their barricade on Argyle Street South. The barricade on the Highway 6 bypass west of Caledonia remains in place. As well, natives continue to occupy the disputed 100-acre Douglas Creek Estates subdivision in southwest Caledonia.

A week ago, native protesters and provincial negotiators agreed to a moratorium on development in the disputed area until a settlement was reached. Trainer reported yesterday that, contrary to the moratorium, squatters from Six Nations have extended a road from the reserve into the subdivision, effectively folding the disputed land into their territory.

Haldimand OPP reported yesterday that Argyle Street South into Caledonia remained free of barricades. Hydro One crews continue working at the station while police watch from a distance.

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