What's good for the Grouse, is good for the gander

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

4 comments

windturbine-blades-assembled
Grouse Mountain installs a new wind turbine to help produce 25% of their energy needs

The local media in Vancouver have gone gaga for the new wind turbine being constructed high above North Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain Ski Resort. What could well have been considered an eyesore and blight on the majestic north shore mountain view, is now being almost universally heralded as “green” and “innovative.” The wind turbine is projected to provide up to 25% of the resort’s power by January 2010.

The wonderful thing about this wind turbine is that not only is it a truly green initiative, but it was paid for solely by private sector funds. That’s right, Stuart MacLaughlin and his Grouse Mountain Resort didn’t get a penny from government for this project. For that reason alone, Stuart and the Grouse Mountain team deserve our praise.

I couldn’t help but juxtapose what Grouse Mountain was doing to go green with Mayor Robertson’s efforts to build a costly vegetable garden on the front lawn of city hall. My colleague Mike Klassen FOI’d all the paperwork surrounding this so called “community” garden and found that taxpayers will be paying a pretty penny to keep the Mayor’s little adventure in eco-structure afloat.

Just imagine for a moment if the Mayor had decided to use the money he spent on Gregor’s Garden (sorry, can’t really call it a community garden when the neighbouring community never actually asked for it) to put a few solar panels or small turbines on the top of city hall. What if this investment could have helped to generate at least 10% of the energy used at city hall?

Not only would this have eventually saved money for city taxpayers, it would have been a truly green initiative the Mayor could have touted during the 2010 Olympic Games and beyond. Now the eyes of the world won’t be on Gregor’s Garden in February (most of the veggies will be dead by then), rather, they will be pointed toward North Vancouver’s new enviro-friendly wind turbine.

If you don't believe me, consider that NBC will be stationed up in North Vancouver at Grouse Mountain during the 17 days of the Games. If you don't think the wind turbine will get alot of free publicity, think again.

If I were Mayor Darryl Mussatto of North Vancouver, I’d be gearing up all my marketing folks to help tell the world that council approved this green project and it didn’t cost city taxpayers a dime. Not only that, Mussatto provided the necessary approvals in time to get the project up and running in advance of the Games. Now that’s cutting green tape.

As for Gregor’s Garden, it will be damp patches of soil cloaked in winter’s long shadow come this February. It will hardly be the showcase of sustainability the Mayor had likely hoped it would be. The more likely scenario is that the NPA’s Olympic Village project Vision (scorned but a few months ago) will end up being Gregor’s sustainability showcase project during the Games.

A bit ironic, I must say.

4 Comments

Hopefully they will publish the data on actual power output rather than the rated output that has been discussed so far. Actual output i practice is often only 10% of rated output.

Anyone know if they have some special dispensation from the Environment Ministry for the expected bird kill ?

When a couple of dozen ducks were killed in an Oils Sands pond last year the Greenie Goons when GaGa and demanded retribution - which a court did by fining the oil sands company involved hundreds of thousands of $dollars.

Will the same thing happen here ? Will the David Suzuki put up picket lines ? Will any media cover the story of hundreds or thousands of dead birds beaten to a pulp or decapitated by the turbine blades ?

Will Grouse be fined huge dollars ?

Probably not.

I think that ironic is building a wind turbine, but then leaving the lights on all night, every night, even when the night skiing ended in the spring.

It's definitely nice to see a big statement like this though, and hopefully all area ski resorts will explore some more sustainable energy options. Sometimes statements are important, though it's always nice to see them followed up with more serious and thorough action.

I thought the wind turbine was in the District of North Van, not the City. Shouldn't this article have a reference to Mayor Richard Walton, instead?

According to this study
http://bit.ly/OpzA5 birds are seldom bothered by wind turbines. Quoted from slide 41, "Birds often collide with high voltage overhead lines, masts, poles, and windows of buildings. They are also killed by cars in traffic. However, birds are seldom bothered by wind turbines.
 The only known site with bird collision problems is located in the Altamont Pass in California.
 Danish Ministry of the Environment study revealed that power lines are a much greater danger to birds than the wind turbines.
 Some birds even nest on cages on Wind
Towers."

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