Today, Dalton McGuinty, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and Premier of Ontario, announced that after nine years he would be stepping down. At this point you may be cheering or crying or not caring at all, but I assure you that in the next little while we are going to hear about all the good and bad things that the Liberal party has done during their time in power. I am not going to write about every decision during that period that I agree or disagree with but I thought that now would be a good time for a quick mention of one project that does not get enough time in the press.
The Niagara Tunnel Project. Started in 2005, this is the project that dug a 10km long, 14m in diameter tunnel under the city of Niagara Falls. The tunnel will be used to bring more water to the existing Sir Adam Beck power generation station at the base of the falls. The tunnel itself is complete and they expect the power generation to start in 2013. Total output should be about 1.6 billion kilowatt-hours per year which is, in the more popular measure, enough to power 160,000 homes. This is a project that both the Conservatives and the Liberals supported, something you do not get that very often. Yes, it was five years late and yes it cost $1.6 billion instead of $935 million but I still think this is something that people should be hearing about more frequently. The problem is that most of the time you get reports that are very similar to what I have just written, full of boring numbers. Instead we need more pictures and videos – this tunnel is an extraordinary engineering achievement. So here you are. That is a link to a history of the tunnel with pictures and a couple of videos.
So whenever you start to think that the government is incapable of getting anything right just remember this amazing project and maybe it will help restore a bit of confidence. This tunnel is designed to provide power for a hundred years. I doubt the citizens of Ontario in 2113 will be thinking The clean, easy power is nice but do you remember the Liberal eHealth boondoggle of 2009?
Want to read more about the tunnel? Here is the official site.