Northern Ontario town sees ambitious green energy plans fall apart

00001_550_412Roy MacGregor, The Globe and Mail
Perhaps Neil Young could put on a benefit concert. Blind River, after all, is where the famous Canadian rock star blew the transmission out of “Mort,” his 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse back in the Sixties. That experience inspired Long May You Run – the haunting song Mr. Young performed at the closing ceremonies for the Vancouver Winter Games.

The singer is also an environmental activist, all for the same green energy that has put this pretty little Northern Ontario community in a situation that has its 3,549 citizens wondering how their $18-million ended up in a garbage dump more than 600 kilometres out of town.

It is a story that begins, as so many such tales do, as something that seemed like a good idea at the time…

In 2010, encouraged by a provincial initiative to encourage green energy, Blind River arranged to borrow $49.5-million from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. CMHC was offering low-interest loans for infrastructure projects as part of the federal government’s Economic Action Plan. The town already had its own small hydro dam and a wind turbine. This loan would allow Blind River to build a massive solar farm that would create jobs – much needed in the area – and give its people low-cost, renewable and clean energy. All very admirable. Read article

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