Posted on June 3rd, 2005

By Don Sullivan

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

It seems like the “Road Worrier” has struck again at the Winnipeg Free Press.

The latest editorial “NDP kills road hopes” (June 2/05) chastises the government of Manitoba for its’ bold decision to ensure that under their watch the government will not entertain Manitoba Hydro’s desire to construct a set of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission lines down the East side of Lake Winnipeg.

By the slight of the pen the editorial has somehow managed to equate the HVDC transmission lines with the construction of an all weather road. The two projects are distinctly different in my opinion.

The editorial goes on to state that the interests of aboriginal communities (Island Tribal Council) are not being served by the government of Manitoba decision, as the ” power line represents the best hope of having an all-season road… connecting them for the first time… so they can exploit resources…”

Surely, if the communities of Island Lake wanted to have an all-season road, as the editorial suggests, then constructing an all-season road directly west from Island Lake to hook into the all weather road that all ready exists in Norway House, that is half the distance then constructing an all-season road down the East side of Lake Winnipeg, would in my opinion, make more social, economical, and environmental sense.

The idea that HDV transmission line corridors down the entire East side of Lake Winnipeg “would have minimal impact on the region’s environment” is absolutely false. For example, it is a known fact that roads, power lines and human development are all highly disruptive to the threatened woodland caribou herds in Manitoba, many of which are located on the East side of Lake.

The real issue, that I suspect has gotten the Free Press in knot and articulated in the editorial is that “… access to forest and mineral deposits in half the province will be blocked” from environmentally destructive large-scale resource extraction activities.

What the editorial failed to mention is that there are four Aboriginal communities on the East side of Lake Winnipeg who have a different vision for their area and as a result nominated their traditional land for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, that is a vision that not only I embrace but it seems the rest of world embraces.

Don Sullivan, Executive Director
Boreal Forest Network
3rd Floor – 303 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba. R3B 2B4
Phone: (204) 947-3081