British Columbians are fortunate to be guided by wise and experienced leaders, people able to analyze events and foresee the future in ways that more practised experts cannot. One of my favourites is Bill Bennett, a man particularly qualified to make decisions on how the public ought to spend tens of billions of dollars.
Bennett gained expertise and honed business acumen as an entrepreneur involved in fishing camps and a goose-hunting lodge on Hudson Bay. Despite potential conflicts, he maintained a financial connection to wilderness tourism even after beginning a career in politics. Reporter Larry Pynn provided detail in Bill Bennett is still trying to put his past behind him, a 2013 article in the Vancouver Sun.
With keen perception of a man certain of the road he follows, Bennett recognizes uses that might overwhelm present generating capacity if a ten or fifteen billion dollar commitment to Site C is not made.
“There are new and increasing uses for electricity: electric cars, the things that we tape our favourite television shows with, our phones, our iPads, our laptops, etc.; a lot more electricity being needed.”
Admittedly, I missed the impact of those items. I assumed that fewer than 1,000 electric vehicles (0.029% of registrations) placed little burden on BC Hydro because they are typically recharged at night. As well, I was lulled into a sense of comfort by Forbes Magazine reporting that I can power all my electronic devices and use less electricity simply by changing one 60 watt incandescent bulb to a compact fluorescent. I had also assumed that taping television programs was done only by the few people still playing 8-tracks as they roll on down the highway. Additionally, my information had suggested that modern flat screen TVs use about 75% less power than the old cathode ray tube sets that are disappearing.
Seriously, I wonder if we could convince Bill Bennett’s colleagues that he has been speaking nonsense, would they send plans for Site C back to the archives?