Wednesday, April 30, 2008

'Green' power project kills fish; ducks and frogs 'disappear'.

Smaller power generation projects are quickly building up a pretty poor track record.From a recent report in the Vancouver Sun:
An independent power project on Miller Creek near Pemberton is failing to meet its commitments to produce "green power" and to protect species at risk, according to an environmental consulting report.

The 33-megawatt power project, owned by the City of Edmonton's EPCOR Utilities Ltd., had an oil spill on site as well as fish kills resulting from "dewatering" of the creek for four hours during a malfunction last September, reports TRC Biological Consulting Ltd. of Port Coquitlam.

The December 2007 report also notes that harlequin ducks and tailed frogs, both species at risk, have vanished from the creek since construction of the plant in spring 2003.

Read on

See also: With Pitt River hydro plans stopped, what now?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Farm to School opportunities for farmers

I thought this would be of interest to those in the listed towns. I think this is a natural if we're looking to support healthier eating in our schools and promote local food.
I am getting many calls from many eager schools who would like to pair up with a local farm (or a couple of farms) to make Farm to School happen. Calls are coming from Masset, Kitwanga, Terrace, Telkwa, Houston, Smithers, Prince George, Chetwynd, Ft. St. John, Dawson Creek, Nazko, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna, Salmo, and Kimberly Schools are looking for farmers that produce fruits and vegetables - any fresh product that could be used in their salad bar (leafy greens, tomatoes, cukes, celery, carrots, peppers, zucchini, radishes, potatoes, carrots,beets, onions, garlic, cabbage, squash..etc...).

In this school year the school would develop an agreement with the farmer to utilize his/her current food products in their salad bar..and in the upcoming 2009 season the farmer would plan and plant additional foods to increase the amounts and variety of produce available in the salad bar. It would be great if the farmer had a greenhouse operation and/or was willing to consider one.

The aim is as much local as soon as feasible. The farmers would be looking at supplying produce to serve 200 - 800 children 2 times per week. In potatoes alone that might translate to a minimum of 50 - 200 lbs of potatoes per week for 26 weeks per year.

The benefit to the farmer is this He has an assured customer for now and years to come (salad bars must demonstrate they will be financially self sustaining within the first year. The children pay for the foods..the farmer gets a fair market price)

Some of the funds for the project can be used to assist in getting the farmer set up to support the school (i.e. Seed money upfront to plant the crops, funds for gardening tools to teach the children, funds expand storage, funds to contribute to a small greenhouse..etc..)

Can any of you help me in the development of a list?

If so, please drop me a line or call.

Many thanks in advance,

Joanne Bays
Project Manager Farm to School Salad Bar
Public Health Association of BC
Cell 250-961-9933

Friday, April 04, 2008

With Pitt River hydro plans stopped, what now?

Matthew Burrows in the Georgia Straight looks at plans some are making to introduce proposals for other private hydro operations. He quotes BC Liberal Randy Hawes:

Despite its sudden withdrawal in the legislature on March 31, B.C. Liberal whip Randy Hawes says he still plans to introduce his motion supporting independent power producers.

“It is going to get introduced, I would expect,” Hawes, a two-term Maple Ridge–Mission MLA, told the Georgia Straight by phone from Victoria that same day. “I haven’t got a date for you. It might be two weeks or it might be four weeks.”

and John Calvert of SFU:

SFU associate professor John Calvert, author of Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British Columbia (Fernwood, 2007), argues that B.C. Hydro’s large public revenue stream, combined with 20-year fixed-term power-purchase agreements, is being used as “collateral” by the smaller private producers to borrow money for getting the projects off the ground.

“Then they build the power plant,” Calvert told the Straight. “So when the water licence expires in 40 years, what does the government do? It is likely to renew it, because otherwise they are going to have to tell the company that owns the land and the power plant to shut everything down. I think it is very unlikely that future governments would be in a position to do that.”

Complete article