Nalcor issued a safety warning Monday morning after a number of protesters began walking towards the construction zone at Muskrat Falls.
Protesters have been occupying the accommodations area since Saturday. On Monday morning, some of them began moving toward the construction area itself.
“This construction site has large pieces of equipment, electrical infrastructure and other critical machinery operating in the area,” Nalcor said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Nalcor is urging everyone currently at the Muskrat Falls site to exercise extreme caution. There are many safety hazards and risks at the construction site that have the potential to cause harm to people who are not familiar with the work site. We are concerned about everyone’s safety.”
Later in the day, the RCMP began closing roads in area because of the safety concerns.
“Owing to public safety concerns, the RCMP is advising that Route 510 will be closed until further notice,” Cpl. Trevor O’Keefe said in a media advisory. “As well, there will be delays on Route 500. Emergency vehicles are in the area and drivers are asked to proceed with caution. Police are asking the motoring public to remain away from the area as it is anticipated the roads may be closed or blocked for several hours.”
Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall issued a statement asking the protesters to return the main gate and remain in the safety zone.
“This a large-scale construction site with heavy equipment and many hazards which could cause serious injury to persons without proper training and lacking appropriate personal protection apparel,” Marshall said. “We are extremely concerned with the presence of the outside groups on our site as it puts them and members of our team and contractors at risk.
“We are asking the protestors to proceed to the identified safety zone outside the main entrance where they can continue their demonstration in the vicinity without compromising their safety and the safety of others on the work site. We continue to work with the RCMP and seek their guidance to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We have requested additional support on site until the situation is resolved.
“I have spoken to Premier Ball and Minister Coady and they share my concerns for the safety of all involved. We are doing everything we can to ensure everyone’s safety and are working with the RCMP to that end. We ask that everyone on site do the same.”
Premier Dwight Ball returned to the province Sunday evening, but his office told NTV on Monday that the premier will not be available to the media before Tuesday’s meeting with aboriginal leaders.