During the annual water safety awareness campaign near hydropower facilities last summer, Ann-Sophie Simard, Nolan Tremblay, Jérémy Hudon and Roxanne Simard, children of Rio Tinto employees from the region, won a contest to visit the Shipshaw Power Station with their families. The visit took place on Saturday 23 October.
The purpose of the visit was to introduce the children to Rio Tinto’s hydropower production sector, while reminding them of the risks and good practices on Lac Saint-Jean and the rivers, both in summer and in winter, near hydropower facilities.
“In the summer, the water upstream of the power stations and spillways may appear calm, but the current is strong under the surface,” explained Marc Bédard, Manager, Shipshaw Power Station. “It is very important to be mindful of the booms, those yellow buoys that tell you to turn back immediately when you see them. And in the winter, despite the snow cover, it is important to avoid the areas near our facilities because the ice can be thinner there.”
Stéphane Larouche, Director of Operations, Power Operations, said, “In addition to sharing the history of the power station and how we produce and distribute our electricity, we explained to the families how much importance we place on our raw material, water, for all six of our power stations. We produce green and renewable energy, and we make sure to get the most of every drop of water.”
During the visit, the families were able to meet the operators in the control room. “This is a critical role in a power station. It requires special knowledge and skills to be able to make good decisions and maintain our production, which is necessary for aluminium smelters,” said Mr. Bédard. “The operators were very generous with their time, and we have a good understanding of the importance of their work,” added Véronique Brassard, Laboratory Coordinator at Grande-Baie Works, and mother of Roxanne.
How did the families feel about their visit?
Jérémy Hudon ‘s family
Martin Hudon, Supervisor, Network Control Centre, Power Operations, and father of Jérémy, said, “We had a really nice visit. Stéphane and Marc were very welcoming and generous with their time. My daughter Roxanne found the operations room and the passage through the tunnel to the upstream deck very interesting. So did Jérémy, in addition to seeing the alternator shaft turning, the three-wheelers, and the toolboxes! Jennifer, my partner, said to me at the end, ‘I finally understand your work a lot better’.”
Roxanne simard’s family
Véronique Brassard, Laboratory Coordinator at Grande-Baie Works, and mother of Roxanne: “The whole family feels grateful to have taken part in this wonderful visit. Marc and Stéphane were so interesting and enthusiastic. My daughters liked the fact that the visit was interactive—we were asked questions and shown real-life examples. I would also like to mention that Stéphane, the director, was there throughout the visit. You can feel his pride and sense of belonging.”
Ann-Sophie Simard and Nolan Tremblay with their families
Mélanie Gagné, Administrative Assistant, Asset Management, and mother of Nolan: “I still learned new things, even though I was already familiar with Power Operations. There is a lot to learn!”
Gino Fortin, Superintendent, Power Operations, and father-in-law of Ann-Sophie: “The visit was very much appreciated by my family, and by me too, even though I know the power station. It is so rewarding to see the people we care about learn about our facilities.”
To learn more about boating safety near hydropower facilities, visit the Power Operations website.