Letters to the Editor

Letters: Wind energy has costs

Wind energy has costs

Nicolas Heap, regional director, Canadian Wind Energy, said, “Wind energy delivers on all fronts.” With that said, some questions and discussions need to take place.

This statement is one of few if any from the government or proponents that wind projects were going to take place in our area and that B.C. Hydro was going to buy power from them for the next 20 years.

Within our area there are three projects that are planned.

This information did not come from the wind energy folks but was passed on from concerned taxpayers who were told that full consultation had been done by the proponents.

To this day, none of the major recreation and conservation groups have been notified of any consultation. B.C. Wildlife Federation, B.C. Federation of Driftfishers and all of the outdoor clubs in the Thompson Okanagan have not heard of these so-called consultation meetings with the stakeholders.

The three projects that we have heard of are in the Merritt area, one west of Summerland and one near Pennask  Creek and Lake.

There are major environmental concerns with regards to the one near Pennask Lake. At this time the government is trying to contain leaching from the construction of the Coquihalla Connector into Pennask Creek.

To quote John Cartwright who was section head for Provincial fisheries for over 25 years, “every effort should be made to keep any further damage or potential damage away from the drainage of Pennask Lake and Creek.”

Brian Chan, fisheries biologist, indicates that over 20,000 wild rainbow trout return each season to the spawning beds in Pennask Creek.

A first question is: where is the science and why has there been no public consultation? Are the wind energy companies going to get any subsidies from us the taxpayer? Has the provincial government mandated B.C. Hydro to purchase power from the wind energy companies?

Let’s start asking questions because once they are built, there is no turning back.  I have no problem with clean energy, but not at any cost to the environment and/or taxpayer.

Maybe our MLA could answer some of these questions via providing the information to the news outlets so that we all can see his answers.

Bob Otway

Penticton

*****

ALR requires clear definitions

During a recent CBC interview Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick emphasized he “has landed” on affirming the primary purposes of the Agricultural Land Commission set out in Section 6 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act, especially farmland preservation.

He mentioned the “only proposed change” in Bill 24 is to create a Zone 2 with the purpose of helping farmers to “grow their business.”

This would be through “flexibility to consider social and economic factors” in allowing non- farm uses or revising land reserve boundaries.

Affirming priority on preserving agricultural land is meaningless unless supported by substantive and consistent policies.  Application of undefined factors by separate panels creates limitless opportunities for decisions inconsistent with ALR objectives.

There appear to be no consistent policies regarding use of land for non-farm purposes.  Certainly, methane digesters, greenhouses, co-generators, etc.  linked to farm operations are, as the minister stated, appropriate.

The problem is that suitable non-farm uses and their extent on agricultural land are not well-defined, leaving excessive scope for interpretation.  Unregulated expansion of non-farm uses is not a sound long-term economic approach if it means losing or impairing productive farmland.

For example, is a rodeo grounds an appropriate use of farmland when alternative sites exist, even if it generates spending?  Spending may not represent sound long-term economics.

Also, there is no assurance that revenue from proposed non-farm uses intended to “grow the business” will be used for that purpose.  Will “aging farmers” actually launch new (farm) projects as suggested?

Certainly some parcels can have lower capability components.  However, what safeguards will ensure that their development won’t impact farmable holdings?  That includes subdivision pressures and future land use conflicts.

It’s better to refine ALR boundaries than enable inconsistent application of potential  “social and economic weight” in making land use decisions.

Bill 24 proposals should be dropped.  Instead the commission should be funded to develop and apply policies and identifying non-farm uses consistent with ALR objectives.  These can be put in place using existing regulation powers, ideally following sound public consultation.

Denis O’Gorman

Penticton

*****

Why China and not Canada?

I have been reading letters favouring the Northern Gateway pipeline and it seems the government propaganda is working for the naïve.

I have personally run heavy equipment for an oilfield environmental department cleaning up oil spills and know oil spills in water are disastrous, expensive and hard to clean up. They also have the highest negative impact on the environment and wildlife.

The propaganda machine will have you believe there will be lots of surveillance to look for leaks. Most leaks are in winter/spring. What surveillance will there be in storm season, fog, heavy rain, strong winds, etc?

Which country are risking an environmental disaster to supply oil to? China, a country showing its true colours as a military aggressive country with no respect for international law, copyrights and especially maritime laws.

Should Canada not be building refineries, being 100 per cent self-sufficient and sell fuel to Canadians at a more affordable price?

Would lower fuel prices not stimulate the economy?

Government is supposed to act in the best interests of Canadians, the environment and its natural resources for present and future generations.

What happened?

Clifford Martin

Penticton

*****

Grateful family

With a sincere and open heart we wish to thank everyone who is still helping us through this time, to our friends who took us in, to all of our closest friends who wanted to take us in, and to all who helped us at the immediate time of the fire.

The love, support and care we received and are still receiving is heart warming and appreciated beyond words. We cannot thank everyone enough.

Sending so much grateful and sincere love, appreciation and thanks to all the rescue crews, Naramata and Penticton emergency crews, the Naramata emergency social service ladies and paramedics for the immediate response to our home on May 25.

A big special thank you to our neighbours for the immediate assistance and support at such an early time of the morning. Big thank yous to Lock Property for being kind to us through this mess, to the staff at the Sandman hotel for being kind and respectful, to all the staff at Denny’s for being accommodating, caring, kind and considerate of our situation and for their awesome service.

Thank you to everyone who sent a prayer, well wishes, support and love through e-mail, text, Facebook message etc.

It’s OK if you are or were unable to be right beside us because we know we are loved by all of our thoughtful, caring, wonderful supportive friends, family, bosses and co-workers near and far, you are all a blessing and our appreciation and gratefulness is endless.

Our Naramata community is a blessing, and we are thankful to call it home and we pray we will be able to continue to call it home.

Our Penticton community is also so very wonderful and giving and loving, and we are ever so thankful everyday to call these two places home.

Lerner Family

Naramata

*****

Asphalt gets low rating

Envision a continuum of 10 to 1 and rating No. 10 for a teaching garden focused on food production. Observe No. 1 an asphalt parking lot at the former C.URB site at Nanaimo and Ellis.

Merle Kindred

Penticton

 

 

 

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