Monday, February 23, 2009

A towering loss of sanity

I'm not sure I understand this at all. When I first heard about the idea of putting a massive transmission line through Gros Morne National Park, which also happens to be a UN heritage site, I just laughed. It was such a ludicrous idea that I thought there was no way it would happen. Simply a brain dead idea, it was designed to either be floated out there to see how much people would hate it, or put out by someone genuinely clueless.

Sadly, I've never been to Gros Morne, but I know it's a provincial treasure. People adore that park. It's practically the centre piece of any provincial tourism campaign. The idea of putting through massive transmission towers through the park was so silly I never considered it a serious idea. No politician would risk the political suicide of advocating for it, so I thought no more of it when the idea first sprang to public light a few weeks ago.

But then you read that Premier Williams thinks that maybe it's a good idea and what harm could it do.

Lord knows I've been critical of the premier on this blog. Lots. But this is just weird. So weird that I'm going with one of three options on why on Earth the premier would get behind this idea.

First notion? That this is a trial balloon, just to see how upset people would be with the idea, even after the premier suggests it is a worthwhile idea. Would the borderline cult the premier has rally to him once more or would they back away? Would this be a transmission tower too far?

If that's what it is, fine, but it's still weird the premier would stake his beloved personal popularity on something that anybody with an ounce of political sense is going to be able to figure out will be publicly reviled. There will be massive protests if this thing actually moves beyond the, "seriously, this isn't an early April Fool's Day joke" stage that it currently is in.

Second option? That the premier has actually lost it and doesn't see what the problem is. Which is far more troubling, really. To some extent I almost understand his pig-headed, albeit deeply stupid, logic in trying to rig the Board of Regents and presidency at MUN. He simply believes no one will really care, and hell, he might be right.

But thinking that no one will freak out over this is just a break from reality I can't comprehend. I think if through some freakish twist of fate this ever got approved by Parks Canada people would go in and sabotage the new towers to prevent them from being built.

This is something so stupid I can't comprehend how the premier thinks this is a good idea. It's so stupid that I keep feeling like I'm missing something.

Which is option #3. I really hope I am missing something. I don't mind being wrong and stupid on something (well, I mind a bit) when I don't have all the information, the final cards are played and there's a clear, intelligent strategy in place. I hope that's what's going on here. The alternative is that the premier is having a clear break with reality. Which concerns me a bit more than the notion that I might be wrong about something.

Last Five
1. 5'15 - The Who
2. 'deed I do (live) - Diana Krall
3. Bang bang bang - Tracy Chapman
4. Evidence of me - Sean Panting
5. You've got the look - Prince w/Sheena Easton


Anonymous said...

It is political suicide or lunacy. I agree it is a trial balloon. Just wait for what happens next.

Hallett said...

I hear St. John's City Council has agreed to run them down the Waterford Valley, along George St. and then along Gower for good measure.

It makes as much sense.

Remember, this is Newfoundland. It can always get worse.

towniebastard said...

I never underestimate the ability of Newfoundlanders to do stupid things in large numbers.

I was thinking after that powerline perhaps they could build a raise highway/bridge to finish off the Outer Ring Road. I imagine it could go across Quidi Vidi Lake, loop along Signal Hill, cut across the Narrows and then reconnect with the rest of road behind the sewage treatment plant.

After that we'll start drilling for oil at Cape Spear.

Charles Cheeseman said...

People seem slow to wake up to the idea of wires and towers in two of NL's World Heritage sites and national parks. It could be a trail balloon to feel out the public, but with an 80% approval rate, most are quiet on this issue. Today for example, there are currently 4 comments about a related story at CBC NL's site, while a story about the Spanish trawler has over 150 comments. I just wrote a post suggesting that if the Gros Morne transmission line idea were supported by Quebec or some foreign country like Spain, then the emotion would rise and opposition to the hydro lines would grow.

Many may fear speaking out it while some see it as a way to avoid involving a Quebec route, or a way to make that seem so. Here's an idea of how Gros Morne and Mealy Mountains could look with the transmission wires, and for a real awakening, here's the St. John's version.
(One more conception of the lines crossing Western Brook Pond.)

Krista said...

I think some of us may be missing the fact that there are already power lines running through the park. They plan to put them through in the same place. This is no way means I support the idea. Who knows how much damage would be done installing the new towers. If there are already lines there, why is there a need to build new towers anyway!

Anonymous said...

It was the VOCM "question of the Day" a few days ago, and I voted, thinking, of course, that Gros Morne had fans in NL -- well -- of course it was 70 percent for putting those power lines in....

Michael said...

What is it about politicians that makes them want to see how stupid they can act? Here in Quebec, Charest tried to give one of our parks to some buddies, like we wouldn't notice. Now the place is in limbo and a whole area's economy is trashed while people try to clean up the mess. I wish NL better luck with this one!

Anonymous said...

After hearing a snippet of Ed Martin on CBC's "On the GO" today, the more I think this was a trial balloon. And I think it just popped. He indicated that the next thing they were evaluating was either entire underground cable or parts of the transmission line being underground and parts above ground.