Category: Stewart

$21M wildfire equipment depot to be built in Prince George, B.C. – CBC.ca

The province says it is building a $21-million equipment depot in Prince George to support wildfire fighting across northern B.C.The facility will operate alongside an existing depot in Chilliwack, said B.C. Wildfire Service information officer Forrest Tower during a visit to Prince George Thursday.”It’s where we keep all of our … firefighting equipment that gets shipped around the province,” Tower said.”An increased-sized facility in Prince George gives us a lot more flexibility to move much more equipment around a lot faster.”fTower said the decision to build a larger facility in B.C.’s northern region was prompted by the concentration of wildfires that have burned in the area in recent years.Currently, there are 91 active wildfires in the province, 79 of which are in the Prince George Fire Centre, which covers the northeast quadrant of the province.”Obviously from the Lower Mainland is a long haul up to Fort Nelson,” he said. “Having a more, expanded [centre] here in Prince George will allow a smoother operation.”Tower said there isn’t a timeline for when the depot will be built or where it will be located, noting it is still in the procurement phase.Province touts partnership with Prince George, citiesTower was in Prince George alongside Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma, who said she had visited the city’s permanent reception centre for wildfire evacuees.The centre was established earlier this year in response to the fact that Prince George has welcomed thousands of evacuees since 2017, when more than 4,000 people fleeing fires in the Cariboo region registered to stay in the city.”I want to acknowledge the incredible partnership we have here in Prince George,” Ma said. “It is absolutely essential that communities like Prince George are supported because of how important they are … to fighting fires [and] supporting evacuees.”Ma also reiterated some of the other investments the province is making in preparing for and fighting wildfires, many of which come from 31 recommendations made by a task force created by the premier to look into how the province can better support people during emergencies. They include upgrading the fleet of planes and helicopters available to support firefighting efforts, and the establishment of a ‘first of its kind’ wildfire training program being developed at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

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Michelle Mungall: The lack of snow means B.C.’s electricity will struggle to meet demand

Breadcrumb Trail LinksOpinionOpinion: The new factor in the equation is that we are in the midst of an energy transition that massively increases demand on all jurisdictions’ electrical grids and generationPublished Jun 27, 2024  •  Last updated 28 minutes ago  •  4 minute readIn December 2023, B.C.’s average snowpack was almost 40 per cent lower than normal. A skier slides through slushy snow at Whistler on Dec. 29, 2023. Photo by ETHAN CAIRNS /THE CANADIAN PRESSArticle contentYou don’t have to be an expert with a PhD to know that this was a bad snow year. For those of us in Nelson, instead of shovelling foot after foot, day after day before hitting the slopes to catch some of the fresh powder, we left our driveways without looking at the shovel, only to ski down icy terrain riddled with stumps and stones. At least our hill stayed open while others had to shut and cut jobs for the season.Advertisement 2Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentSitting in the chalet more than in past years, griping about conditions, we also talked about what the overall lack of snowpack meant for the rest of the year. That snowpack is critical to our waterways filling up and our forests thriving. We had already been through five years of unprecedented forest fire seasons, and with the warmest Canadian winter on record in full swing, there was even less snow than we had ever seen before.“Not to get more down about the situation,” one friend said while our kids were nose deep in the spirals of whipped cream topping their hot chocolates, “but what does the lack of snow mean for our electricity?”My friend’s question was bang on. Too few snowflakes doesn’t just impact road and driveway clearing, ski slopes and forest health. In B.C., it is directly related to how we produce electricity: 87 per cent of our electricity comes from hydroelectric sources. The vast majority of the water we use for hydro power is stored in the province’s southeast Columbia Basin reservoir system and northeast Peace River system.Advertisement 3Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentNelson is right in the middle of the Columbia Basin, with Kootenay Lake as the city’s northern border. When we look out at lake levels and snowpack, in many ways, we’re looking out at B.C.’s capacity to generate electricity. And we’re worried.A month ago, B.C. Hydro held an online public information session about Columbia Basin operations. It opened with Dag Sharman, community relations manager for the Southern Interior, ominously saying, “It looks like another challenging year.” Low water levels from low snowpack were the culprit.The Columbia Basin water system gets roughly 70 per cent of its water from snowpack, 20 per cent from rain and 10 per cent from glaciers. Snowpack at peak was around 75 per cent of normal — the lowest on record since 1970. Rainfall and cooler weather this June has been typical, but not enough to make up for less snow. Combine that with last year’s drought conditions, and it means that the water system generating nearly 50 per cent of B.C.’s electricity is going to struggle to meet demand.Advertisement 4Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentThe situation is only worse in the Peace River system.Conserving energy and water in a year like this is vital. Shorter showers and turning off lights when not in use are established household actions that will also save money on bills. And, of course, B.C. Hydro has a long history of managing drought years and buying renewable power from other jurisdictions when we’re in need.But the new factor in the equation, as noted in North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s 2023 and 2024 reports, is that B.C. and everywhere else are in the midst of an energy transition that massively increases demand on all jurisdictions’ electrical grids and generation.Electric vehicles are on the rise as federal and B.C. legislation states that all new vehicles sold must be zero-emission by 2035. Heat pumps are more prevalent in homes and commercial spaces. We now create digital documents, photographs and films and file them in data centres, not filing cabinets. Major industry and their investors want operations to use renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. And we can’t forget that government now gives out free air conditioners to keep people safe during heat waves.Advertisement 5Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentPut it all together and the math isn’t working out. More demand when there is less supply — or, in other words, less snow.This reality drives B.C. Hydro’s current call for power to increase generation. It’s why B.C. Hydro CEO and president Chris O’Riley said we can expect more calls for power in the near future when he was asked at the Clean Energy B.C. conference on May 23. And it’s the big consideration for B.C. Hydro and all B.C. utilities’ resource plans.Using my 20/20 hindsight as a former energy minister, I can say that Site C will be needed immediately once online. I’m also relieved to see investment into B.C. Hydro’s electric grid increase to $36 billion, up from $25 billion, over the next 10 years. But we can’t stop there. Innovation is necessary.Advertisement 6Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentAlong with B.C. Hydro’s own planning processes, a May 2024 report called Powering the Future with Energy Storage, from the Centre for Innovation in Clean Energy, shows that much of the innovation needed will be through energy storage technology. Utility-scale batteries, for example, will be key to backing up renewable generation like wind as well as managing electricity transmitted over the 74,000 kilometres of wires we have in our province.This type of innovation is essential to our electrical system keeping up with the changes in both human activity and climate. As the snowpack cycle shifts, bringing in less than in previous drought years and perhaps more than we can manage in high precipitation years, B.C.’s electricity is literally on the line. Will there be enough? For the sake of my love of snowboarding and all else in our modern world, I sure hope so.Michelle Mungall was a B.C. cabinet minister from 2017 to 2020. She is now an advisor in the energy industry and writing her memoir, Minister Mom.Article contentShare this article in your social networkComments Join the Conversation This Week in Flyers

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A&W on Prince George’s 20th Avenue shuts down

The A&W on 20th Avenue closed Tuesday, with crews on-site Wednesday to remove the fast food chain’s signs.

This leaves three A&W locations in Prince George. One is in the Pine Centre Mall, there’s one on 5th Avenue and a third in the Hart.

Company officials were not available for comment on the closure.

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$21M wildfire equipment depot to be built in Prince George, B.C. – CBC.ca

The province says it is building a $21-million equipment depot in Prince George to support wildfire fighting across northern B.C.The facility will operate alongside an existing depot in Chilliwack, said B.C. Wildfire Service information officer Forrest Tower during a visit to Prince George Thursday.”It’s where we keep all of our … firefighting equipment that gets shipped around the province,” Tower said.”An increased-sized facility in Prince George gives us a lot more flexibility to move much more equipment around a lot faster.”fTower said the decision to build a larger facility in B.C.’s northern region was prompted by the concentration of wildfires that have burned in the area in recent years.Currently, there are 91 active wildfires in the province, 79 of which are in the Prince George Fire Centre, which covers the northeast quadrant of the province.”Obviously from the Lower Mainland is a long haul up to Fort Nelson,” he said. “Having a more, expanded [centre] here in Prince George will allow a smoother operation.”Tower said there isn’t a timeline for when the depot will be built or where it will be located, noting it is still in the procurement phase.Province touts partnership with Prince George, citiesTower was in Prince George alongside Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma, who said she had visited the city’s permanent reception centre for wildfire evacuees.The centre was established earlier this year in response to the fact that Prince George has welcomed thousands of evacuees since 2017, when more than 4,000 people fleeing fires in the Cariboo region registered to stay in the city.”I want to acknowledge the incredible partnership we have here in Prince George,” Ma said. “It is absolutely essential that communities like Prince George are supported because of how important they are … to fighting fires [and] supporting evacuees.”Ma also reiterated some of the other investments the province is making in preparing for and fighting wildfires, many of which come from 31 recommendations made by a task force created by the premier to look into how the province can better support people during emergencies. They include upgrading the fleet of planes and helicopters available to support firefighting efforts, and the establishment of a ‘first of its kind’ wildfire training program being developed at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

Read More »

Michelle Mungall: The lack of snow means B.C.’s electricity will struggle to meet demand

Breadcrumb Trail LinksOpinionOpinion: The new factor in the equation is that we are in the midst of an energy transition that massively increases demand on all jurisdictions’ electrical grids and generationPublished Jun 27, 2024  •  Last updated 28 minutes ago  •  4 minute readIn December 2023, B.C.’s average snowpack was almost 40 per cent lower than normal. A skier slides through slushy snow at Whistler on Dec. 29, 2023. Photo by ETHAN CAIRNS /THE CANADIAN PRESSArticle contentYou don’t have to be an expert with a PhD to know that this was a bad snow year. For those of us in Nelson, instead of shovelling foot after foot, day after day before hitting the slopes to catch some of the fresh powder, we left our driveways without looking at the shovel, only to ski down icy terrain riddled with stumps and stones. At least our hill stayed open while others had to shut and cut jobs for the season.Advertisement 2Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentSitting in the chalet more than in past years, griping about conditions, we also talked about what the overall lack of snowpack meant for the rest of the year. That snowpack is critical to our waterways filling up and our forests thriving. We had already been through five years of unprecedented forest fire seasons, and with the warmest Canadian winter on record in full swing, there was even less snow than we had ever seen before.“Not to get more down about the situation,” one friend said while our kids were nose deep in the spirals of whipped cream topping their hot chocolates, “but what does the lack of snow mean for our electricity?”My friend’s question was bang on. Too few snowflakes doesn’t just impact road and driveway clearing, ski slopes and forest health. In B.C., it is directly related to how we produce electricity: 87 per cent of our electricity comes from hydroelectric sources. The vast majority of the water we use for hydro power is stored in the province’s southeast Columbia Basin reservoir system and northeast Peace River system.Advertisement 3Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentNelson is right in the middle of the Columbia Basin, with Kootenay Lake as the city’s northern border. When we look out at lake levels and snowpack, in many ways, we’re looking out at B.C.’s capacity to generate electricity. And we’re worried.A month ago, B.C. Hydro held an online public information session about Columbia Basin operations. It opened with Dag Sharman, community relations manager for the Southern Interior, ominously saying, “It looks like another challenging year.” Low water levels from low snowpack were the culprit.The Columbia Basin water system gets roughly 70 per cent of its water from snowpack, 20 per cent from rain and 10 per cent from glaciers. Snowpack at peak was around 75 per cent of normal — the lowest on record since 1970. Rainfall and cooler weather this June has been typical, but not enough to make up for less snow. Combine that with last year’s drought conditions, and it means that the water system generating nearly 50 per cent of B.C.’s electricity is going to struggle to meet demand.Advertisement 4Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentThe situation is only worse in the Peace River system.Conserving energy and water in a year like this is vital. Shorter showers and turning off lights when not in use are established household actions that will also save money on bills. And, of course, B.C. Hydro has a long history of managing drought years and buying renewable power from other jurisdictions when we’re in need.But the new factor in the equation, as noted in North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s 2023 and 2024 reports, is that B.C. and everywhere else are in the midst of an energy transition that massively increases demand on all jurisdictions’ electrical grids and generation.Electric vehicles are on the rise as federal and B.C. legislation states that all new vehicles sold must be zero-emission by 2035. Heat pumps are more prevalent in homes and commercial spaces. We now create digital documents, photographs and films and file them in data centres, not filing cabinets. Major industry and their investors want operations to use renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. And we can’t forget that government now gives out free air conditioners to keep people safe during heat waves.Advertisement 5Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentPut it all together and the math isn’t working out. More demand when there is less supply — or, in other words, less snow.This reality drives B.C. Hydro’s current call for power to increase generation. It’s why B.C. Hydro CEO and president Chris O’Riley said we can expect more calls for power in the near future when he was asked at the Clean Energy B.C. conference on May 23. And it’s the big consideration for B.C. Hydro and all B.C. utilities’ resource plans.Using my 20/20 hindsight as a former energy minister, I can say that Site C will be needed immediately once online. I’m also relieved to see investment into B.C. Hydro’s electric grid increase to $36 billion, up from $25 billion, over the next 10 years. But we can’t stop there. Innovation is necessary.Advertisement 6Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentAlong with B.C. Hydro’s own planning processes, a May 2024 report called Powering the Future with Energy Storage, from the Centre for Innovation in Clean Energy, shows that much of the innovation needed will be through energy storage technology. Utility-scale batteries, for example, will be key to backing up renewable generation like wind as well as managing electricity transmitted over the 74,000 kilometres of wires we have in our province.This type of innovation is essential to our electrical system keeping up with the changes in both human activity and climate. As the snowpack cycle shifts, bringing in less than in previous drought years and perhaps more than we can manage in high precipitation years, B.C.’s electricity is literally on the line. Will there be enough? For the sake of my love of snowboarding and all else in our modern world, I sure hope so.Michelle Mungall was a B.C. cabinet minister from 2017 to 2020. She is now an advisor in the energy industry and writing her memoir, Minister Mom.Article contentShare this article in your social networkComments Join the Conversation This Week in Flyers

Read More »

A&W on Prince George’s 20th Avenue shuts down

The A&W on 20th Avenue closed Tuesday, with crews on-site Wednesday to remove the fast food chain’s signs.

This leaves three A&W locations in Prince George. One is in the Pine Centre Mall, there’s one on 5th Avenue and a third in the Hart.

Company officials were not available for comment on the closure.

Read More »