Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I would just take this time to wish everyone who follows my blog a happy New Year, and best wishes in 2012!

Having said that, I just finished watching the Jets defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in a hard fought effort.  The Jets have been in cruise control in the month of December, finishing 10-3-1.  The Jets are now 19-14-5, which is good enough for 7th place in the Eastern Conference.   I'm looking forward to seeing the Jets in the 2011-12 post season!

Friday, December 30, 2011

David vs. Goliath in Westwood

(photo courtesy of the Winnipeg Free press)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Imagine going for a bite to eat at your favorite local Winnipeg restaurant, only to navigate your way through hundreds of 100 pound boulders.  Now imagine that you found out that the boulders were put there by a heartless management company as "punishment" in a lease dispute, with no regard for children, elderly, or handicapped residents in the area.  seems pretty far fetched, doesn't it?

Well that is exactly what has happened in the D-Jays parking lot on Portage Avenue in the Westwood area.  It seems D-Jays parking lot is owned by a company called Superior Management.  The restaurant owner and the property manager seemingly came to a stalemate over their dispute on the lease of the parking lot.  Rather than work on a civil resolution to the problem, or even declare legal action, Superior management has defied logic and dumped giant boulders all over the disputed parking lot.

This may have been funny if it were a Monty Python skit.  You may shake your head and say "only in Winnipeg..."  Now there have been two stories in the Winnipeg Free Press about the huge boulders being placed in D-Jays parking lot.  The first story mainly portrays the restaurant owner's side of the story, that Superior management have been unreasonable, and are trying to scare off the iconic local restaurant.

Today, a second story appeared on the situation that portrayed Superior management's side of the story. It clamied that D-Jays was being unreasonable, and impossible to negotiate with.  They also claim that the owner of D-Jays offered to sell Superior the land that D-Jays occupies, then reneged on the deal and tried to double the price.

Here is what Superior Management had to say about the boulders being placed in the parking lot (I am not making this up):

"I’m chagrined to read that the boulders seem to have aggravated some of our neighbours," Matthews writes in a letter to the Free Press.
"If you visit Westwood Village, you’ll see that we have used boulders throughout the whole of the shopping centre to define laneways, parking areas and property lines.
"At the western end in particular, we wanted to secure the required number of parking stalls for our own tenants, for sure, but we also wanted to create a clearer sense of the parking layout and the line between our two properties.
"In fact, these nefarious boulders do not block the established laneways or reduce the existing number of parking stalls. It’s regrettable if (restaurant founder and co-owner Dennis Johnson) hasn’t explained the parking arrangements to his patrons, but he knows what they are and we’ve given him plenty of advance notice of our positions and intentions."

hmmmm....who to believe....

In cases like this, it is wise to ignore the petty squabbling between the two parties and look for factual information.  While I am no private investigator, a simple public search of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench registry site paints a very unflattering picture of Superior Management.  it seems the property management company has been in court cases 16 times, most in the past five years in battles with various companies including (but not limited to) the Bank of Montreal (who also have a location in the immediate area), Nu west Decorating, MPIC, and numerous other private businesses and individuals.  Keep in mind that the registry does not publish every single case that found it's way through the legal system, so there could be many more cases that are not on public record.

One would think with the unsightly boulders being a nuisance and a public safety issue, that one call to the area's City Councillor would achieve a quick resolution to the issue, and have the boulders removed.  You would be wrong.   City Councillor Grant Nordman does not seem to care about the best interests of his constituents.  Here is Nordman's take on the property dispute, as reported in the Winnipeg free Press

Coun. Grant Nordman (St. Charles) has been contacted by several concerned citizens about the situation, but said "at the end of the day it's a private matter."
Nordman said D-Jay's customers have no right to park on property that the restaurant doesn't own. "It's business 101. You get what you pay for," he said.
Nordman hasn't been approached by D-Jay's or Superior Management, and said if there's a dispute, they should resolve it privately, because it's not a city matter.
Now I have no idea why Grant Nordman would ignore his constituents (the same people who voted him into office), but it usually means that the Councillor is in bed with the property management company.  I certainly would not want a man like that representing my best interests.

D-Jays has been around for decades, and is a fixture in the St.James-Assiniboia area.  The restaurant is an integral part of the Westwood community.  The reason that Superior Management dumped huge boulders on their doorsteps and not the Bank of Montreal is due to two things.- money and power.  Superior Management hopes to bully and intimidate a small Winnipeg eatery into submission.

I would hope that the people of Westwood, and the surrounding area would continue to patronize D-Jay's Restaurant, despite the large rocks surrounding the establishment.  I would also hope that many people would contact the appropriate people regarding the dispute.  I have listed some numbers that concerned citizens of Winnipeg may want to contact at the bottom of this article.

Workplace Safety and Health

Grant Nordman, Winnipeg City Councillor, St.Charles Ward

Superior Management, 255 Bell Ave., Winnipeg, MB

Sharon Blady, MLA for Kirkfield Park

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Free Press columnist Dan Lett and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Dan Lett recently penned two columns about the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.  Lett, a CMHR proponent from day one, proves that his pro-Asper bias knows no shame.  He unbelievably tries to pass the buck from Gail Asper on to the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the Conservative party.

Besides the fact that Lett's first column is about 57 paragraphs too long, he tries in vain to make the Aspers out to be some kind of community heroes.  I only read it once, and will not give Lett the satisfaction of letting him waste my time by reading it again.  Upon completion of the article, I felt so dirty that I immediately took a long hot shower.  

Congratulations, Dan.  You have my vote for "Homer of the Year"  in 2011.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jets avoid disaster.

It has been less than a month since the return of the Winnipeg Jets, and NHL teams are already testing us.  Seems the Philadelphia Flyers wanted to deal us Mike Richards.  The catch?  we would just have to give up Evander Kane, Alexnder Burmistrov, and our first round draft pick.

Mike Richards is a fine player, but he is no Sidney Crosby.  I guess nobody bothered to fill in Flyers that Mike Smith is not managing our team any more.  Nice try guys, but no dice.

Having said that, it was great to see so many Winnipeggers in St.Paul for the draft.  I have to admit that I was pretty stoked to hear Chipman say the name "Winnipeg Jets"  so nonchalant.  Our GM may have mixed up the Twin Cities, hence the boos from the crowd, but overall it's great to have an NHL team again.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Jets are back!!!

Well I have not written in the past couple of weeks.  I have been working, continually checking sites like for updates on our new NHL team, and partying more than usual.  Unfortunately I could not get season tickets, so I guess I will just have to be content with watching Winnipeg's first ever NHL game since 1996 at a sports bar like 4Play.  

I have a new found pride for my native city.  We proved all the sceptics and naysayers like the author of this website wrong.  Winnipeg truly is a world class city!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Spirited Energy" creator says naming the new NHL team "Jets" a bad idea.

Marketing guru Peter George, the man responsible for the Maintoba's ill-fated "Spirited Energy" marketing campaign recommends against calling the new NHL team the Winnipeg Jets.   George was recently interviewed by the Sun to share his thoughts on this issue:

“It’s a new age in every way,” said Peter George, president and CEO of Winnipeg’s McKim Cringan George marketing firm. “We have to be prepared to move forward in this city and not cling to the icons of a bygone era. “There’s tons to be said for tradition, but that business is done. The Winnipeg Jets were done. It would be the Jets in name only, right?”
On the Winnipeg hockey fans who favor the Winnipeg Jets name:

That seems to be the prevailing thought, although George said that could simply be the vocal minority. “No one’s out there writing letters to the editor saying, ‘Hey, I don’t want them to be called the Jets,’ ” he said.  

“Maybe there’d be a small outcry — the same people that tried to encircle the Eaton’s building and stop it from getting torn down would be outraged — if we weren't getting called the Jets.”

People in Winnipeg have developed an emotional attachment to the Winnipeg Jets name.  Jets merchandise has outsold any other hockey club in recent years, and since it looks like the NHL will be returning, sports and jersey stores cannot keep up with the demand for vintage NHL Jets merchandise.
The main argument against the use of the Jets name comes from many who say that the Jets name and logo are from the past.  The argument is that with a new identity and logo, the team will sell more jerseys and apparel. 

Vancouver Canucks different style uniforms
Use the Vancouver Canucks for comparison.  The team changed uniforms many times.  From their retro blue and green jerseys of the 70`s, to the  yellow and black ``V`` logo of the 80`s, and finally changing to a slightly updated version of their original jerseys, with the addition of a new logo.  The same can be said about the Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, and Anaheim Ducks.  All these NHL teams have change their appearances, with mainly positive results.
The next argument comes from people who say that the Winnipeg Jets were a mediocre team, at best, and need a fresh start to get away from the image of failure.
The problem with this argument is that NHL clubs do not become successful by their appearance.  NHL teams that enjoy success on the ice have excellent management and stable ownership.  
Dale Hawerchuk (1981-90)
I am really hoping that the new Winnipeg NHL club is called the Jets.  Growing up as a kid in the eighties, I lived through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  When the Jets moved in 1996, I was barely out of high school.  

When I resided in Alberta, several people that came into contact with me, either walking the streets, going to a restaurant, or elsewhere would often compliment me on my Jets shirt or cap.  I would often get fellow Manitobans (and others) asking me what part of Winnipeg I was from, and how much they thought Winnipeg deserved another NHL team.
With nearly 2/3 of Winnipeg residents favouring the new team to be called the Jets by various polls in Winnipeg, I think True North Sports & Entertainment should give the people what they want.  A new team by any other name would be a bad PR move by the new Winnipeg based team.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Stranded in the UK" virus hijacks my blog.

Well it's great to have access to my account once again.  I was the victim of a virus that sends emails to everyone on your contact list, and displays a message indicating that you are stranded without money in London, England while on vacation.  Thankfully my account and blog are both up and running again.

In other news, congratulations to everyone who kept believing in the city and made it possible for the return of the NHL to become reality.  I will be downtown celebrating once the announcement of the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg becomes official.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wanted: Members of Parliament. No experience necessary.

Well with the election wrapped up, I came across some interesting tidbits on  the recently elected NDP members in the province of Quebec.  Seems some of the new Members of Parliament come from all walks of life, which is fine.  A former communist, a UFC cagefighter, and then there is Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the representative of the Quebec riding of Berthier - Maskinong√©.

What makes this amusing is her activities during the election campaign.  Here are some of the most interesting facts:

  • She is barely fluent in French, despite being the NDP candidate in a overwhelmingly French speaking riding in Quebec
  • She took a vacation to Vegas during the Election campaign
  • She did not bother to show up in her riding during Election night
  • She never once visited the riding she was competing for (too busy working at a pub in her hometown of Ottawa?)

Maybe I am being unfair, and rushing to judgement.  Mrs. Brosseau could turn out to be a fine MP.  And hey, don't tell me some of those those sexually repressed old men that have been at Sussex Drive for years wouldn't mind some eye candy in the house.  I mean look at her.  She's smokin'!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Conservatives win Majority Government, NDP Gains Big

Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have finally won a majority government that they have been seeking for the past decade.  The New Democratic Party, led by Jack Layton, made huge gains, especially in Quebec.  When all was said and done, the NDP nearly wiped out the Bloc Quebecois, shattered the Liberal Party, and came within striking distance of the Conservative Party.

Congratulations to all candidates that competed for a seat in Parliament. It was definitely a night of changes.  The Liberal Party is in shatters, as this was their lowest showing in an election ever.  The Bloc is likely finished for good, and the Green party finally managed to secure a seat in parliament.  Here are the final results:



2011 Federal Election (prediction): Conservative Minority

Judging by the strong showing of the NDP,  and the extremely weak showing by the Liberal Party, I predict a Conservative Minority (again).  I have looked at some of the polls, and figure that most of the NDP gains are coming off the expensive of the Liberal Party. 

The NDP will come through huge, especially in Quebec.  The Conservatives will keep most of their seats, but will not enjoy majority government status.  The Bloc will be decimated in Quebec by the NDP.  However, the real losers of the night will be the Liberal party.  Expect them to suffer big losses east of Manitoba, at the expense of the NDP.

Nationally, the Conservatives have a slight edge over the NDP, but the Liberals have really hit rock bottom.  Expect Michael Ignatieff to resign as party leader shortly after the election results have been tabulated.  Here are my predictions for tonights election:

British Columbia: 
  • Conservatives x 18 (-4)
  • NDP x 16 (+7)
  • Liberals x 2 (-3)
  • Conservatives x 26 (-1)
  • NDP x 2 (+1)
  • Liberals x 0 (no change)
  • Conservatives x 21 (-1)
  • NDP x 7 (+3)
  • Liberals x 0 (-2)
  • Conservatives x 50 (-1)
  • NDP x 28 (+11)
  • Liberals x 28 (-10)
  • NDP x 45 (+44)
  • BQ x 18 (-31)
  • Conservatives x 9 (-1)
  • Liberals x 4 (-12)
Atlantic Provinces:
  • Conservatives x 16 (+6)
  • NDP x 10 (+6)
  • Liberals x 5 (-12)
  • NDP x 2 (+1)
  • Conservatives x 1 (no change)
  • Liberals x 0 (-1)



Saturday, April 30, 2011

To Jack Layton: There Is Nothing Wrong With Massage Parlours

It seems the NDP surge has ruffled some feathers in the Canadian political landscape.  In fact, an unknown source has managed to dig up a 1996 Police report that had Jack Layton caught up in a Police sting at a local Toronto brothel.  The amazing thing is this has made front page news in the Canadian press.  I have no idea why, as I see nothing wrong with what two consenting adults do behind closed doors.

However, when Jack Layton tries to deny that he knew it was not a legitimate massage studio, he is just insulting our intelligence.  He is either the most naive man in Canada, or he is not telling us the truth.

So I have a proposition for Mr.Layton.  Admit you went to a "rub and tug", and I will not only guide you to Winnipeg's #1 massage parlour, I will personally pay for any "service" you receive.  I am sure I speak for most Canadians, when I say it is your business as to what happened in 1996.  I would actually consider voting for the NDP next Monday, if Mr. Layton just came out and said "so what?  Is there a problem with what I did?"

Look no further to our American neighbours, and the surge in popularity Bill Clinton enjoyed when his affairs were exposed to the American public.

Construction in Winnipeg

I was a little bored today, and decided to drive around and take some pictures of some of the construction projects in Winnipeg.

Richardson College for the Environment Science Complex (University of Winnipeg), Portage Ave.  (completion date- 2012)

McFeetors Hall (University of Winnipeg) Completed 2010

Avenue Building, April 2011

The Chief Peguis Trail Expansion (April 2011)

Union Bank Tower (RRC Campus Downtown), April 2011

Buhler Centre (University of Winnipeg) 

New University of Manitoba Residence Tower

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Winnipeg Thrashers?

While the situation with the Phoenix Coyotes looks dire, and any rational minded businessman would have sold them to the True North group by now, it appears that Winnipeg has a better chance of buying the Atlanta Thrashers, and moving them to Winnipeg.  The Coyotes situation is now entangled in legal threats and  litigation that may take years to be resolved.  In Atlanta, this is not the case.

I do not have too many details about the situation in Atlanta, so stay tuned.   I should have more to report by Friday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

CMHR Museum: Can it be converted into a Rock and Roll Museum?

Considering that the Canadian Museum for "Human Rights"  has caused more animosity and tension between different ethnic groups in modern Winnipeg history, even before it has opened it's doors, it's time we cut our losses and investigate if the structure can be turned into something that Winnipeggers will actually want to go to see.

I think it goes without saying that the construction and planning of the CMHR has been a disaster since it's inception.  From cost overruns, ethnic favouritism, and deception from Gail Asper and the project organizers, it is clear that this museum will do more harm than good in the long run.  The CMHR is now asking for an additional $3.6 million from the City of Winnipeg to cover cost shortfalls.  

Enough is enough.

Rather than watch this monstrosity turn into Canada's "Autoworld" (an infamous Automotive Museum which cost about the same amount as the CMHR when you factor in inflation), we should modify the project so that it can turn a profit. Or perhaps at the very least, not bleed the taxpayer white year after year.

Let's turn this building into the Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  With local bands like the Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, the Watchmen, Neil Young, Terry Jacks, Harlequin, Bif Naked, Remy Shand, the Weakerthans, Crash Test Dummies, and many more; Winnipeg has always been the rock and roll capital of Canada.

Let's honour our musical past and build a Museum that people in Winnipeg will be proud of.  Let's turn the CMHR into the inaugural Canadian Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

"Autoworld" grand opening, 1984- Flint, Michigan

Autoworld implosion, 1997- $80 million down the drain.

America's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame- Cleveland, Ohio.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Report: NHL Coyotes will relocate to Winnipeg within days

Reliable sources, including TSN, CTV Sportsnet, and numerous Canadian media outlets, are now stating that after 15 long years, the NHL will likely return to Winnipeg.  According to numerous sources, the deal between Matt Hulsizer and the City of Glendale has fallen apart, and Gary Bettman and the NHL Board of Governors will likely announce the return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg upon the conclusion of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Of course, the NHL top brass are denying these reports, but that is to be expected.  In the rare event of the Coyotes making a run in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the league does not want the relocation news leaking in fear that it could adversely affect ticket sales for the Coyotes remaining games.

With the return of the NHL, many local sports fans will wonder what will become of the AHL Manitoba Moose.   Apparently there have been plans made up to relocate the Moose to British Columbia (most likely to Abbotsford), in the event of the NHL returning to Winnipeg.  True North Sports Entertainment (TNSE) will own the Winnipeg based NHL team, and they will play at the MTS Centre beginning with the 2011-12 NHL season.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Friendly Manitoba?

I drove across the Red River earlier today, and it looks like it is rising pretty rapidly.  The fact that it has been raining this week, and the forecast for Monday is 15C will not make things any better.  I've helped sandbag in 1997 and 2009.  Unfortunately, I am still recovering from two herniated discs in my lower back, so I am not sure I will be able to pitch in and help this year.

It amazes me the attitude of some people in this city.  The Winnipeg Free Press published an article that says the city is in need of 900 volunteers to help sandbag.  Reading some of the comments disgusted me.  Hundreds (perhaps thousands) of Winnipeg homes are in danger of flooding, and some readers have questioned why they should help at all.  Here are some examples:

"Pay me $50/hour with benefits and full injury coverage if my back blows out and I will sandbag these expensive properties."
Dirty Ernie

"My husband and I were having this exact conversation as we drove past Kingston Row yesterday afternoon. Live on the riverbank? Not my problem."
Prairie Chicken

"It isn't my problem people built so close to the river. You want the view then you can pay me to work."
The Orange Rod Blog

I guess people are quick to forget that Winnipeg and the surrounding area were built on what was once a lake thousands of years ago.  The basin floods every so often, and if were not for the Red River Floodway, we would all be submerged in water by now, regardless of where you live.   

We should just be thankful we are protected by the Floodway.  Residents of Southern Manitoba outside the Floodway are not so lucky.  Many flooded homes, farms, etc. are miles from the Red River.  I am not surprised the author of the Orange Rod Blog feels this way.  She has made comments in the past referring to Manitobans who live outside the Perimeter as "idiots" and "rednecks." 

Having said that, if you want to help families and people in need of help to save and protect their homes from flood damage, here is the City of Winnipeg Emergency website.  You could always call 311 and ask about volunteering to help the flood prevention efforts.  

Let's put the "Friendly" back in "Friendly Manitoba" 

Friday, April 8, 2011

NDP bloggers leave much to be desired.

Sometimes there comes a time when you read an article on a blog that you feel compelled to make a statement on.  Especially if it is a local blog.  With the Manitoba Provincial election coming up in the fall, there have been many local blogs that have been created to influence voters.  A disproportionate number of the new blogs seem to be coming from NDP supporters.

So when I came across a blog that attacks and discredits a Canadian Olympic Gold medalist for virtually no reason, I was at loss for words.  There have been other instances where I have just had to shake my head at some of the statements made by the authors.  

For instance, the Orange Rod blog has made her share of outrageous claims.  The Orange Rod has claimed that Manitobans living outside the Perimeter highway are all "a bunch of rednecks."  Another post tells Manitobans to move out of the province, if they oppose the plans for the Bipole III  Hydro project.  Another post claims the Winnipeg Police Service are against  having women as a mayor.  The reason?  The WPS endorsed Sam Katz for the mayor office.

The scary thing is the Orange Rod is relatively tame compared to some of the more recent NDP-friendly blogs.  The NDP supporters and members have taken dirty politics to a new low.  These blogs are some of the most disgusting, hate-filled, and vile propaganda I have ever witnessed at a Provincial level.  Here are some examples:

Now I am not the biggest fan of Hugh McFadyen.  I still have yet to decide who to vote for.  However, what the NDP bloggers fail to realize is that McFayden, Susan Auch, Sam Katz, Stephen Harper, and many others that they have smeared, attacked, and ridiculed, is that they are all people like you and me.  We all have our faults.  It's fair to be critical of someone if you against their policies or agenda.  

However, the Manitoba NDP have taken mudslinging and smear tactics to a new level.  I will never vote for the New Democratic Party again as long as I live.  You can thank the NDP hate machine for my decision.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Coyotes move to Winnipeg could depend on playoff performance

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, the fate of the NHL Phoenix Coyotes will depend on how they fare in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The article states that "The longer the Coyotes are in the NHL playoffs, the more time Glendale has to find bond investors and NHL and prospective Coyotes owner Matthew Hulsizer will have to finalize a deal to keep the team in Arizona."

So in other words, if the Coyotes want to remain in Arizona, they will have to break what has come to be known as the "Curse of the Jets."  The Coyotes have never won a playoff round, since moving to the Arizona desert back in 1996.  In fact, you would have to go back to 1987 the last time the franchise was able to advance to the second round of the playoffs.  The Winnipeg Jets disposed of the Calgary Flames in six games that season, before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup winning champion Edmonton Oilers.

By the looks of the standings, this will be no easy feat.  The Coyotes are currently sitting in the #6 seed in the Western Conference, and if they want to move up in the standings, they will have to defeat the Kings and Sharks to close out the season.   The odds of that happening are fairly slim, so it's likely Phoenix will be forced to play either San Jose or Detroit in the opening round.

The San Jose Sharks have had the Coyotes number all season.  In fact, the Sharks have won all games against the Coyotes, dating back to last season.  On the other hand, the Coyotes may have to play the Detroit Red Wings in the first round.  Last season, despite having home ice advantage, the Wings disposed of the Coyotes in 7 games.  This year, Detroit has home ice advantage (although one can argue that every time the Wings play in Arizona, Detroit fans seem to outnumber Coyotes fans).

At any rate, the odds are against the Coyotes to go very far in the playoffs.  That happens to be great news for Winnipeg hockey fans.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My break from posting.

I apologize for taking a break from posting on my blog for over a week.  It's been a hectic last few days for me.  I thank everyone out there in cyberspace who has taken the time to check out the Purple Rod.   Look forward to reading a new set of blog posts in the coming few days.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Free Press editorial way off base

For those of you who had the pleasure of reading the Winnipeg Free Press today, there was another editorial about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  I'm fully aware that the Free Press has been one of the CMHR biggest cheerleader, but this editorial is way over the top.  Despite a recent Free Press poll showing that the vast majority  (75%) of Winnipeggers want the museum to be impartial, and include one exhibit which includes all genocides on an equal footing, the editorial goes to great lengths to state the Jewish Holocaust was "unique" and should be the main focus of the museum.

The editorial has to be one of the most condescending articles I have read in quite some time.  It not only attacks the Ukrainian community of Winnipeg, but dismisses the poll stating that "It was one question in a series of unrelated queries that could have asked about favorite breakfast cereals, pizza preferences, and travel plans."  What is even more perplexing is it concludes by saying Why does the Holocaust get a place in the front seat?  Only the uninformed ask questions like that."  

I have no issues with the Holocaust being included in the CMHR.  The persecution of the Jews in World War II was one of the great human tragedies of all time.  However, how does that make it more important than say..the Rwandan, Bosnian, Armenian, and Cambodian genocides just to name a few off the top of my head.  This is Canada, and no ethnic group should have a monopoly on human suffering.  It's a shame that the Winnipeg Free Press editorial division does not share this view.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bipole III nearly doubles in price.

It has been reported that the Bipole 3 project, the new Manitoba Hydro line the government plans to construct along the West side of Lake Winnipeg will cost over $4.1 billion, nearly twice as much as the projected $2.2 billion that Manitoba Hydro and the provincial NDP had told the public.  When pressed for answers, Hydro president and CEO Bob Brennan was more concerned about why someone in his company would leak out this document, than to justify the enormous cost of running Bipole 3 on the West side of Lake Winnipeg.

One of the first blogs to question Hydro's decision nearly a year ago, is the much respected author of  "Anyone Want a Peanut".  If you click on the link, he has an excellent write up on why running the Hydro line on the West Side is a horrible idea, and reeks of political maneuvering, rather than common sense.  Apparently,  the west route is technically inferior to the east route, including the need for additional (expensive) converters, lower line capacity, and greater line losses.

Here is a projected map of Bipole 3:

What's interesting to note is reliable sources have told me that if the line was built on the East side of Lake Winnipeg, it would only have a width of 66 metres, run parallel (for the most part), to an existing gravel road, and would arguably have less of an environmental impact than if it were to be built on the West Side of the lakes. Finally, let's not forget about the open letter that 19 mainly retired senior professional engineers composed for the Winnipeg Free Press back in December 2010

Here are some of the main points the engineers brought up in regards to Bipole 3 in the article:

  • Of the 10 criteria for designation of the East side of lake Winnipeg as a World Heritage site, nothing precludes carefully positioned roads and transmission lines (many World Heritage sites in Canada, for example in Banff and Jasper, are crossed by transmission lines and main highways)
  • Land owners who will be critically affected by the western route  have raised objections to the government's directive the western route must be followed
  • The directive was apparently made with little or no public input and no reasoned comparison of costs and benefits
  • Environmental studies show a common corridor that includes the road and the Bipole III, is favourable for wildlife. It will also allow access for periodic inspection and maintenance of the line.
  • A 66-metre-wide right-of-way will occupy less than 0.03 per cent (three ten-thousandths) of the projected heritage area
  • With a length of 1,365 kilometres, the West side route is 480 kilometres longer than the East side route, and this is the primary reason for the increase in costs
  • Selection of an east-side route would save a Manitoba family of five around $4,200 compared with the west side
  • The longer line will cause electricity worth about $300 million to be lost in transit, the equivalent of all wind energy generated annually in Manitoba, and equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 40,000 cars.
  • The two routes traverse the same length of boreal forest (about 400 kilometres). In addition, however, the western route also traverses several hundred kilometres of the best agricultural soils in the most favourable agro-climatic zone in the province
  • There are 16 First Nations communities that would be affected by the eastern route and 15 by the western route, essentially the same number (neither route will traverse any aboriginal reserve land)
  • There are technical issues that show a route on the east side of the province provides much higher reliability and protection against risk from wind and ice storms
  • If Bipoles I and II are damaged, the eastern route for Bipole III is twice as effective as the western route for supplying southern Manitoba and the contracted power to the United States
The engineers go on to say that the current NDP government decided Bipole III must run west of the Manitoba lakes and directed the technical staff of Manitoba Hydro to make it happen.  One wonders if the provincial NDP government thinks money grows on trees.