With any large infrastructure project, it is important to communicate with local communities by sharing information and gathering feedback. Two great examples of construction projects with sound communication outreach were the Lempster Wind Project and the Concord Main Street Project. My firm worked on the communications teams for both projects and I saw first-hand the positive impact a well-managed project with smart outreach can have.
When my firm engaged the community during construction of the Lempster Wind Project, we saw real economic benefits. Some local general stores and diners had record business as the work crews provided a boom to business, often during times when business was generally slow. Similarly, in Concord, after two years of construction, the downtown core has more stores and restaurants than when the project started. In Concord, the construction company put local businesses first. Crews served as ambassadors to the community, and effective communication with residents and businesses helped mitigate impacts. Workers on the ground went out of their way to help, while signage and promotion inspired community members to support local businesses.
Like those two projects, Northern Pass is investing in the communities that will be impacted by construction. The project has reached out to towns, business and landowners to share information and build a plan. And, Northern Pass has pledged to work to accommodate businesses’ schedules and events that are important to the communities.
With effective outreach and communication, construction impacts can be kept to a minimum, while an influx of workers can generate a significant increase in customers for local businesses. In the lead up to the construction of Northern Pass, it makes sense for residents and businesses impacted to share their unique needs, and keep open the potential for dialogue.