Green energy plan gives Ontario tourist town the blues

Monday, August 2, 2010 – Globe and Mail

BALA, ONT. — The view from the teal-tinged, bobbing wooden dock at Purk’s Place is cottage country – bucolic and conflicted.

To the right, Lake Muskoka, dotted with homesteads and holiday places on tiny islands; to the left, a railway bridge, century-old dam and the whoosh of Bala Falls dropping into Moon River.

And a string of neon-orange warning buoys: Dam ahead – keep away.

But what has residents, businesses and cottagers here on edge is not the existing pair of dams, both dating to the late 19th century. It’s a hydroelectric generator to be built metres away from the falls at the centre of town – 4.3 megawatts worth of Ontario’s vaunted goal to become North America’s green energy capital.

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Cities taking the lead on climate change

Saturday, December 5, 2009 – Globe and Mail

They can talk about the environment at a United Nations summit, but the action is at your local recycling depot and bus stop, and in your water taps, light bulbs and street-side bike stands. That’s why the real show during the Copenhagen talks might be on the sidelines – at a parallel summit of cities. And there, Canadians are at the forefront.

Cities argue that in an urbanizing world where at least half of emissions are created in municipalities, they are best suited to fight climate change. Just give them the resources and clout.

“We want to show the international community that cities are acting,” says Martha Delgado Peralta, environment minister for Mexico City, once the most polluted municipality in the world.

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