On January 21st, 2010, Manitoba political party leaders debated the location of the upcoming BiPole major Hydro transmission corridor..
Deputy Premier Rosanne Wowchuk stated that a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an east side Hydro line are incompatible. She asserted that the decision has been made and the line is going down the west side. She also made it clear that abundant concerns expressed from potential U.S. customers about an east side hydro line would place export sales at risk.
Manitoba Liberal Leader John Gerrard issued the Liberal party’s preference for BiPole III to run under Lake Winnipeg. He stated that this option is feasible and the costs involved would be similar, or less, due to fewer negotiations.
Manitoba PC leader Hugh McFayden left no doubt that his party wants an east side Hydro line. He mentioned that he hasn’t seen any documentation supporting claims that export sales would be threatened by an east side transmission corridor.
CPAWS Manitoba Executive Director Ron Thiessen went up to the microphone to share how keeping a major hydro corridor away from the east side will help to gain World Heritage Site status for the region. He stated that it is a contest, as there are many candidates but few are chosen. Thiessen noted that a transmission corridor that offers little or no long-term benefits to local communities would weaken its case for approval. He further remarked that the proposal would be stronger without a major slice through the area, increasing the chances of receiving this internationally prestigious designation that will bring people from all over the world to experience its exceptional culture and unbroken wilderness.