After a long delay the decision on where Manitoba Hydro will constructs its transmission line from the north has been decided. It will go down the west side of the province rather than the east side. The fate for where the lines would go was probably decided during the election where Gary Doer said he would not run the line down the east side.
The decision to run the line down the west side will cost $400 million and be 50% longer in terms of the line. This will also bring added costs in terms of lost power to the tune of millions.
The east side can now only be reached by air or winter roads. In the past few years, those winter roads have not been around long enough to bring in supplies.
Some of the east side First Nations didn't want the transmission lines. Other First Nations wanted the lines but they also wanted part ownership of them. Hydro refused. Understandably, while some might be celebrating Hydro's decision to go the west, others are feeling bitter.
The issue of economic development on the easy side won't go away. A few winters of bad ice roads could put the communities there in a crisis situation. The Manitoba government could be on the hook for re-supplying by air for decades to come.
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