By: Rolf Li
In the recent weeks, the Manitoba government has declared that a proposed hydro-electric power plant will go into its final stages of planning and debate. This plant was to be the third major hydro dam in Manitoba, and it was to bring secure and affordable energy to Winnipeg and many southern cities in Manitoba. At around $0.08 per kwh, Manitoba is still one of the most expensive energy consumers in North America. By spending a budgeted $1.3 Billion (set in 2013), Manitoba would begin to build a power plant that allowed the province to export energy to the USA. So how does a $1.3 Billion project suddenly come to a total of around $4.6 Billion? Why are we going to spend that alarming amount of money on a hydro plant, that is estimated to only make $150 Million a year?
I really do believe that our governments are doing their best (I hope) to benefit all of us. Sure, they have scandals and mis-allocation of funds, but they are relatively smart–right? Except in this case, the Manitoba government is definitely making the wrong decision. If you do not know why the government is spending the extra $3 Billion, don’t worry, because here it is. A majority of landowners in the area that will be flooded due to the dam have voted to negate the project. However, the power authorities of Manitoba have the rights to purchase land without permission as long as the house of Manitoba agrees that it is in the province’s best interest. Landowners in this case were offered up to 150% of the retail value of their land, and benefits of additional income and health care. So is this the only reason that the project is delayed and diverted? In some sense it is, but I have many objections to the arguments made by residents. This original plan was to deliver clean and affordable energy to thousands. So although many turned down the purchase order, I am very disappointed with the Manitoban government for not applying the powers they were given to create practical plant into reality. Is the extra $3.5 Billion worth a couple of landowners saying “no”? We don’t ned to take this. If Canada wis to become an energy capital in North America, Canadians must take sacrifices. This new route for the power plant will actually take an additional 1500 km and flood another 10,000sp. feet of forest. Is it worth it to do this? $4.6 is a lot of money that a small province doesn’t have to spend. So what will you you vote for?Follow @zakopinion
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