Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hot water and Hot air about frozen water in Prince George

The ice jam on the Nechako River became a political tourist attraction on Sunday as Premier Gordon Campbell, Solicitor General John Les and a collection of local MLA's and civic politicians, flew over the frozen pack ice and wandered the affected neighbourhoods to survey the situation. Getting a first hand look at how it is impacting on the residents and businesses that share the banks of the Nechako with it.

It was the first appearance by the Premier since the emergency began last month, since the ice formed businesses in the area have been forced to close and a number of different ideas have been bounced around as to how best approach relieving the pressure on the frozen waters and break up the jam.

One idea involves at 2.7 kilometre pipeline that will carry hot water from the Canfor pulp mill across the frozen river to three different locations where the 20 degree Celsius water will be injected under the ice where it is hoped it will begin to melt the ice jam. That project would take at least two weeks to construct the pipeline and get things ready to melt. The province has already approved the 400,000 dollar required for it and has left it up to the City of Prince George to decide on a time line for action.

Another possible approach will be explained on Monday when Eco Technologies from New Brunswick arrive in town, to explain how their technology can be used to break up the ice jam, using a machine called an amphibex to possibly break up the ice jam. The marine machine works as a form of ice breaker to break up pack ice on rivers.

The hot water melt project may or may not work, officials think that it has the potential to solve their current problems but there is always the chance that it won’t change the situation. Making the 400,000 project a rather ambitious science project which has no guarantee of success.

City officials will have a better idea which approach they should use by late Monday, though one suspects that if you live or work near the Nechako river you’re a little tired of all the talk and might like to see some kind of action take place sooner rather than later.

If only they could channel all of that political hot air of late for good, then the frozen Nechako probably wouldn't be posing a problem today.

Below we have some links to some background on the situation in Prince George.

Eco Technologies web site

Opinion 250--He Came, He Saw, He Had A Photo Op
Opinion 250--Hot Water Melt Plan Approved
CBC News-- B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell flies over Prince George ice jam
Prince George Free Press--Premier Campbell tours ice jam
Prince George Citizen--Premier gets a first-hand look at ice jam
Prince George Citizen--Poor markets, ice jam close Winton Global planer mill
Vancouver Province--Worst flooding in 200 years hits Prince George

No comments: