June 25th, 2024

City notebook: Powered up – electricity getting all the spotlight time

By Collin Gallant on July 21, 2018.

News comes in bunches, and this week everyone is talking about juice.

Power, electricity, the electrons that power air-conditioners or find Internet currency, can be created out of wind, coal, gas, water in a dam, the sun’s rays, or even a monkey riding a properly fitted bicycle.

— This week the New Democrats believe the “Carbon Levy” is a needed mechanism to reduce emissions and drive windfarm construction in the region. Conservatives claim the “Carbon Tax” is a needless job-killing detriment to economic growth.

— The Alberta power grid set new records as temperatures spiked.

— A new cryptocurrency plant going into full operation follows stories in July about record power production from City of Medicine Hat generators.

That all slid in beside a story about how a new budget plan at city hall won’t work unless the city power plant can produce $80 million in profits by 2022 to bolster city operating revenue.

“I’d bet on it,” Mayor Ted Clugston told the News in early July.

You might not want to bet against him.

The forecast is for $33 million in profit this year — thanks to two huge power contracts for data processors and cannabis production.

Other articles related to major wind farm projects in southeastern Alberta.

Environment minister Shannon Phillips and local MLA Drew Barnes took jabs at each other over the importance of the carbon levy in getting two major windfarms in the region built next year.

Barnes is against taxes in general, and the carbon levy in particular.

Phillips says that stance will kill major wind projects that rural municipalities, including one in Barnes’s riding, are depending on.

Premier Rachel Notley managed to re-tweet the News’s story from the premier’s meetings in New Brunswick.

Also from the meetings, Doug Ford, newly in charge of Ontario, says he’ll join Saskatchewan as two of 10 provinces fighting it.

If you ask 100 Albertans on the street about UCP Leader Jason Kenney’s position, you’ll get the same answer every time.

The federal Conservatives will almost certainly campaign on getting rid of it. So, in the end, if either Notley or Trudeau is defeated in the next election, that’s likely the end of the debate.

On hiatus

The second city council meeting in July is typically cancelled due to a lack of business and holidays, and the fact it was sometimes held during Stampede week, but not this year.

It took place last week. Council approved zoning for marijuana retail stores as part of a light agenda.

With the way the calendar falls this year, it made more sense to run two in July, then cancel the first in August.

Council next meets Aug. 20.

Further to Stampede week, there will be no planning commission meeting Wednesday, but the public services committee will discuss a new off-leash dog park.

If you’re a dog owner or trail user, you’ll want to tune in to the News on Tuesday.

Speaking of…

Constant sore spots… the price of gasoline has fallen back to the $1.20 per litre range, about a week after a few stations flirted with a rate of up to $1.40. One local retailer stopped selling gas altogether as a protest against a refinery price she said was putting her under water.

A look ahead

The new wings of the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital will be officially opened Wednesday with Premier Rachel Notley on hand.

The Stampede Parade is Thursday, which this column notes featured six NDP MLAs in 2017.

In less prestigious news, a plan to build a fenced off-leash dog park beneath the Saamis Tepee tops a list of recommendations to protect to the archeological site in the area.

That, and other measures, will be discussed at Monday’s public services committee meeting.

100 years ago

“Turn ‘er Loose” was selected as the name of the grandstand show — a “programme of thrills” — at the Medicine Hat Stampede, the News reported this week in 1918.

“Excitement rose to its highest while Miss Katherine Stimson demonstrated that air has been conquered!” read the news report of the aerial exploits of the “high school-aged aviatrix.”

The travelling aerial artist took off from a horse racing track and passed low over the rodeo infield, rose to a height of 1,500 feet and then performed a spiral glide to a “tremendous ovation.”

The festivities — the second held under the name “Stampede” — also included “lady bronk riding,” a wild horse race and a stockmans parade on day one.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com

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