COLUMNS: Are standards strong enough?

The good news: 70 new residential care beds are finally announced for Williams Lake.

The good news: 70 new residential care beds are finally announced for Williams Lake.

The bad news: by the time they’re built we’ll probably need another 70. At the moment there are long-term care people in Cariboo Memorial Hospital because there is nowhere else for them to be. CMH isn’t geared for long-term care. Its beds are intended for and needed by acute care patients. The shortage of long-term facilities really is unfortunate for everyone involved.

As someone who could end up in “care” any day, I’m glad the new place will be on the Cariboo Lodge site. Some younger people of my acquaintance believe it would be better up by Walmart — more to see, more to do. My response is I’ve been young once but they haven’t been old. For us oldies, the current downtown is our comfort zone. When they are old, ‘up there’ might be their comfort zone.

***

Atlantic Power has been under fire for wanting to burn railway ties, but what about the Ministry of Environment standards. Are they strong enough? And most of us have noticed the increased hydro rates, but is anyone paying attention to who produces our electricity? Supporters of the independent power producers (IPPs) say we’re getting good service from them. They diversify our electricity grid, provide economic benefits (jobs and taxes) especially in the 250 area code areas. Can’t argue with that, but some IPPs are getting paid for power even when they aren’t producing any because of oversupply. Could it be that BC Hydro has over-estimated the province’s power needs?

B.C. will pay $58 billion to buy electricity from wind, small-scale hydroelectric,run-of -the river, solar, tidal , biomass and other power projects over the next 55 years. According to Auditor General Carol Bellringer, BC Hydro’s deals with the IPPs make up more than half of the $102 billion the province has promised to pay for goods and services. With these long- term, locked-in contracts with IPPs, and at a time when technology is finding ways to produce cheaper electricity, why do we need Site C? Just asking.

***

The sun shone on the first day of spring. Is that a good omen?

Diana French is a freelance columnist, former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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