|Manitoba Energy Minister Dave Chomiak has publicly stated the Manitoba Government will not allow hydro transmission lines through the boreal forest regions east of Lake Winnipeg. He told media Manitoba's east side intact boreal wilderness, being considered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for designation as a World Heritage site, is more important.
In the May 29, 2005 Winnipeg Free Press article, Minister Chomiak cited environmental concerns as the main reason behind the government's position. He stated, "... when we weighed all the options, we couldn't support going down the east side. It's not going to happen... We're going to stand on our environmental concerns."
Gaile Whelan Enns, Manitoba Wildlands Director, is optimistic about the commitment, especially as another barrier to protecting the east side in order to achieve World Heritage Site status has been removed. But she cautioned the public needs to hear more. "Bi Pole III is not the only hydro risk to these boreal regions. Each dam Hydro intends to build across the top of the east side could also mean new transmission lines or corridors. Minister Chomiak needs to confirm he is talking about no new transmission corridors bisecting these boreal regions."
She also pointed out other new transmission projects under consideration by Manitoba Hydro may stop boreal forest protection. "We hope to hear soon from Mr. Chomiak and cabinet colleagues about similar decisions so that the long awaited Lowlands national park will be free of new hydro corridors."
View the June 1, 2005 Canadian Boreal Initiative press release
View the May 29, 2005 Winnipeg Free Press article (DOC)
View Manitoba Wildlands' mapping of current and potential hydro interconnections by Manitoba Hydro
View Manitoba Wildlands World Heritage Site page with maps
View Manitoba Wildlands Lowlands national park mapping
View Poplar River First Nation website
Sources: Winnipeg Free Press, Manitoba Wildlands