THE BIPOLE III COALITION RESPONDS TO JIM RONDEAU’S RECENT NEWSLETTER PRAISING THE NDP VISION OF MANITOBA HYDRO DEVELOPMENT PLANS
By: KENNETH M. ADAM, Winnipeg, MB
Re: No shortchanging intended
Part, if not all of the difficulty arises in defining ‘boreal forest’ and ‘boreal zone”. The boreal zone makes up the entire area; however, in Canada about 44% is rock, wetlands or water and, to some extent, natural treeless grassland. Only about 56% is actual boreal forest or other woodlands (Canadian Forestry Service website). The Engineers letter of Dec. 8 may have understated by 6% the length of boreal forest traversed by the eastern route, since a 50:50 ratio between bush and bog plus rock was used. It appears that Mr. Thiessen’s letter of Dec. 17 uses the length of boreal forest traversed on the current government’s preferred western route under the above definition, while using boreal zone for the eastern route. We estimate that the length of boreal zone traversed is roughly 800 kilometres on both routes. Obviously, both parties are using “round” numbers.
Mr. Thiessen also comments that the east-side boreal forest is largely intact. In reality, the east-side forest already contains a significant number of roads, cut lines, mines, transmission lines, First Nations communities, and tourist camps as well as clear-cut forestry operations and logging roads. Compared with this existing development and the all-weather road that is now being built, an east-side Bipole III right-of-way will be insignificant.
It is important that both the east and west routes for Bipole III be compared on an equal basis. However, in the overall scheme of things (extra $1Billion on western route), it is more important to see the “big” trees than to get bogged down in the forest.
By: LAIRD CRAWFORD, Pine Falls, MB
Re: Winnipeg Free Press
The articles outlining the senior engineers' perspectives, and Jim Collinson's commentary are the best yet to appear in defence of the east side route for Hydro to follow. However, with the NDP, it appears that ideaology trumps reason. What bothers me is that outside international environmental groups have apparently had undue influence on the government, but perhaps that is because of their political similarities.
Mr. Collinson puts it extremely well, and his factual description of the actual area affected by an east side route as being .0000075 % of the entire region speaks volumes to the erroneous claims the line will devastate the "pristine" nature of our boreal forest. As for the engineers, their concerns are factual and professional, not political. It is time to get real here, before a monumental blunder is made by politicians who cannot, will not, admit error. We deserve better!
By: L.A. BATEMAN, O.M. P. Eng., Winnipeg, MB
Re: Manitoba Hydro Act
The Government appoints a Board to run Manitoba Hydro. When I was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, it was comprised of five members and the Chairman. Today it is comprised of ten members and the Chair.
The Act states “The purposes and objects of this Act are to provide for the continuance of a supply of power adequate for the needs of the province, and to engage in and to promote economy and efficiency in the development, generation, transmission, distribution, supply and end use of power....”
When the Board supports the building of a line from Northern Manitoba that is longer than necessary and has annual losses much greater than the shortest route which will cost future generations millions of dollars every year then I believe that they should review that section of the Act and govern themselves accordingly. I have serious concern that they are not conforming to the Act. They need to review Board Governance. The logical and honorable thing for them to do is show they care about the costs to present and future generations of Manitobans, and route the line from the north on the shortest route.
L.A. Bateman O.M. P.Eng.
Date: December 2010
The Winnipeg Free Press
A few days ago the Free Press published a letter written by 19 prominent Manitoba Engineers in favor of the “east side” route for the proposed Bipole III power transmission line. Minister Rosann Wowchuk responded December 13; west side route the only option.
We wish to reiterate that the west side is most certainly not the only option. As we have already had our say, we will only rebut Minister Wowchuk’s letter on two important points.
The Minister refers to a 2007 report titled Bipole III Transmission Routing Study as “an in-depth review – conducted by engineer Dave Farlinger – of the long term implications…..” This report is by no means an in-depth study. It would best be described as a brief overview of the routing issues. We believe it important that Free Press readers know exactly what Mr. Farlinger himself said about his report:
“This report provides an overview of major issues related to the alternatives of routing the Bipole III Line on either the east or west side of the province. It is not intended to be a ... site selection and environmental impact study. The report considers issues on a highly generalized … basis … There are no conclusions presented in this report.”
Clearly this report is not so in-depth as the Minister would lead us to believe. More important the report draws no conclusions as to the best route and does not support the Ministers position as she infers. Of course in any report presenting the pros and cons of alternatives, one can cherry-pick the pros and cons which support the decision which has already been made.
Minister Wowchuk says that “we’re building Bipole III on the west side of the province because it …. won’t get bogged down in lengthy court challenges by lobbyists and environmental groups”. But there is extensive boreal forest, a great deal of potentially affected First Nations traditional lands and a lot of angry landowners on the west side. So why do the Minister’s concerns only apply to the east side?
Robert Foster on behalf of the 19 P.Engs.
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