Editorial: Let’s not give Geothermal Power the Site C treatment

by Andru McCracken, Editor


I’ve had an inside view of how the province has handled geothermal power development in Valemount and area during my term as mayor. It has been appalling. While a few are rejoicing the continuation of Site C hydroelectric project and many are mourning, the lack of support to get geothermal power moving stands as its own special boondoggle.

Site C hurts many and helps many. It’s a polarizing issue, as Mike Smyth wrote in the Winnipeg Sun, former premier Christy Clark made an omelette that John Horgan cannot unscramble.

The last provincial government’s bumbling of geothermal is tiring at best, and cynical and self serving at worst. Their actions have disempowered Valemount even as we are smoked out due to rising hydro rates.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a realist, I will believe in geothermal power when I see it.

But to see it, the province must get out of the way. Compared to Site C it will be a really small boondoggle at its very very worst and at it’s best utterly transformative.

For the sake of knowing whether our province is rich or poor in a carbon neutral world, it would be entirely appropriate for the province to assign someone within its ranks to see this project through the myriad red tape and make sure the drilling gets done.

I’m not going to analyze in depth our own MLA’s performance on this particular issue. Let’s let bygones be partisan bygones and move on. We need cooperation of the Greens and Liberals with the NDP to determine if geothermal power is possible here.

To be clear I don’t know for sure that geothermal power can be harnessed here. I’m not a geophysicist, and I’ve danced with snake oil salesmen in the past and they all sound good. So let me be clear: We have the right to know what is in the ground.

I’ll promise you this, if geothermal power can be harnessed here, it will change Valemount’s destiny.

Many communities throughout BC would be transformed in a wonderful way.

The province’s bumbling of this file has made it difficult for the Village of Valemount to secure its energy future. That’s a crying shame, given what they’ve done to us with the cost of BC Hydro.

This village should be having hard nosed negotiations with Borealis GeoPower to determine what benefits are accrued to us. Instead we sit in the smoky dark.

Dear provincial government, for our sake, please do not pull a Site C here, let good public policy light the way, resist partisan machinations and make the right choice.

Did you know the Goat could not operate without people buying the newspaper? Subscribe today!