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Plan belongs to Hydro

In his Sept. 5 article, What Manitoba Hydro's critics know, Garland Laliberté claims Hydro's expansion plan is the (NDP) government plan. Really? In more than three decades working as an engineer (now retired) at Manitoba Hydro, the only interferences from any government into Hydro's daily operation I can recall were the Filmon Fridays.

Integral to Hydro's daily operation is the planning and scheduling of future facilities. The tasks of ranking and homing in on the optimum in-service-date of these facilities include the setting of the future values of numerous parameters, themselves each affected by many factors. Unless these values were imposed on Hydro by the NDP, the expansion plan could not possibly, that I can see, be anything but a bona fide Hydro plan. That the government supports the plan is another matter.

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Similar is the situation to the east of Lake Winnipeg, where the government has made, in this case certainly, a political decision, setting limits to the size and substance of the human footprint. This is not an act of interfering with Manitoba Hydro; the policy touches upon all and everyone that might want to put a foot down there, not just Hydro.

The situation at Wuskwatim is unfortunately much worse than Laliberté indicates. Its cost has in fact quadrupled, not doubled, as the $900 million pre-approval estimate had itself been doubled over a span of a few years. Clearly, a full post-mortem is called for here, going back to at least the time when the cost estimate was only a quarter of the final $1.8-billion cost about a decade ago.

As for Pointe du Bois, the decision made by Hydro's upper management to replace the spillway there amounts to nothing but a $560-million mess. The true challenge for the PUB review, and for all of us who care, will be to get to the bottom of what went wrong at Wuskwatim and Pointe du Bois and to and lay bare the significant factors that were the cause of these sad developments.




Dealing with developers

Two days in a row, on Sept. 6 and 7, you ran stories about a downtown skyscraper project, featuring splashy conceptual artwork, with no mention in the articles that developers involved in these plans were ordered to pay in excess of $3 million in a settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission in 2011.

Does someone at the Free Press have a financial stake in this project?




It's a dirty job ...

Re: Clean water feels like a pipe dream (Sept. 6). The puzzling hue of Winnipeg's murky water alerts our citizenry to not only the build-up of negative sentiment (and sediment), but of the unfortunate treatment of unclear, filtered and, yes, sanitized information flowing out of city hall.

Our century-old pipe dream, foundering on the Shoal Lake of rust and decay, rings the iron bell of alarm that the corroded state of confidence in our expensively engineered infrastructure may be as tenuous as our trust is in our civic leadership.

If a solid solution cannot be found for this summer surprise, then our gumbo-stained future holds a yearly guarantee of turbid-looking pools, tubs and sinks, matched only by what is found in bathroom bowls, flush with the colour of our discontent.




Levels of expertise

It is nice to read that the brain trust at city hall will be re-invigorating the active transportation file (City's plan for active transport revived, Sept. 7). The cost, however, is puzzling.

In what we read in your pages about the astronomical costs of city staff, we are told we have a high level of "expertise" in the ranks to justify some of these huge salaries. Why then do we continue to spend big dosh on consultants from another province to tell us what we already know?




Shaming Quebec

Re: Ban would bar religious dress in public sector (Sept. 11). What Pauline Marois promotes shames me as an extracted Québécois.

If she had stated her intentions during the election, she probably would not be the premier of Quebec at this time.




A right-wing fantasy

It's obvious Chris Buors lives in the fantasy world of an Ayn Rand novel (Sloughing off responsibility, Letters, Sept. 9). If only we had private health care then everyone would be looked after, including the Brian Sinclairs of the world.

Our system is far from perfect, but rest assured that in a private system someone like Sinclair wouldn't have to worry about dying in a hospital, because he wouldn't have gotten through the door if he couldn't afford to pay.

As for the problem of housing, if only landlords could charge much higher rents, more elderly and downtrodden would find places to live. Again pure fantasy. In the minds of most right-wing thinkers, dogma always seems to trump reality.




Down with 'breedists'

Given the recent kerfuffle about what does or does not constitute racism, I would like to weigh in by suggesting there is no such thing.

There is but one human race, consisting of various breeds. Therefore, someone who dislikes another person based on their ethnicity or skin colour should be branded a "breedist" and their attitude should be referred to as "breedism."

Extra-terrestrial invaders could be racist, but we humans on Earth cannot.




Tombstone blues

Re: A 'thoughtful and humble guy,'(Sept. 10). You run Robert Chipman's obituary story above an Audi dealership advertisement? Really.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 12, 2013 A14


Updated on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM CDT: adds links

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