The latest idea from Hydro is to gut three historic buildings to expand a substation in the Exchange District:
The affected properties are the Wilson building (288 McDermot), the Glengarry building (290 McDermot) and the Daylight building (296 McDermot). Again we have 20th century thinking from our public utility.
First we have a Manitoba Hydro that bungles all attempts at wind farms, and whose geothermal efforts are marginal at best. Then we have a Manitoba Hydro that will build transmission lines along the West side of Lake Winnipeg (thanks to Premier Doer), losing energy in the extra length and not even considering an underwater transmission line. Then we have a Manitoba Hydro that subsidizes employee parking at its new downtown office tower while handing out its “we love the environment” calendars to everyone. And now we have a Manitoba Hydro that wants to tear down heritage buildings (maybe leaving a façade) to expand a substation. From what I can tell, these actions have made Manitoba Hydro one of the worst corporate citizens in our province.
Does anyone remember the Manitoba Hydro “Beware the Underground” billboard that they had up at their Point Douglas site? It was designed like a movie poster to warn of all of the terrifying dangers that lurk beneath the earth’s surface. Apparently this fear extends to all area of Hydro’s planning.
Put a transmission line under water? That’s scary!
An underground substation? Absolutely terrifying!
Obviously it’s not fair to blame this all on the executives at Hydro; they’re not in charge of fostering an integrated approach to redevelopment and to social and environmental restoration in our province. That’s someone else’s job. Our Premier has been criticized before for showing little to no leadership. Manitoba Hydro is one of the most visible examples of his failings as our Premier.
It’s time for some new ideas in our province; obviously our provincial government is borrowing too many from the 1960s.