Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chateau Lake Louise gets 6 months to prove it’s not wasting water

Dawn Walton
Calgary — From Monday's Globe and Mail Published on Sunday, May. 23, 2010 7:51PM EDT Last updated on Monday, May. 24, 2010 1:08PM EDT

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise now has until the end of the year to show Parks Canada that it is not wasting water from the emerald-blue lake in Banff National Park from which it takes its name.

But based on preliminary water use data, Ottawa says it is “definitely encouraged” that the posh Alberta hotel may be on its way to having its water woes under control.

The Globe and Mail outlined how the hotel’s water distribution system had lost nearly 510,000 cubic metres of water taken from Lake Louise between 2003 and 2009, prompting a probe by Parks Canada.

According to records submitted to Ottawa, 21 per cent of the lake water drawn by the hotel’s aging treatment plant had vanished from the metered distribution system on average each year between 2003 and the fall of 2009.

In 2008, a member of Parks Canada’s Advisory Development Board raised a red flag about a $7-million plan to upgrade the hotel’s water-treatment plant and reservoir. Brad Cabana noticed what he viewed as a large gap between the amount of water drawn from the glacier-fed lake and the amount of water used by the hotel. He subsequently resigned, citing “environmental negligence.”

Despite expectations that the new water system, which is supposed to be more efficient and measure every drop of water used by the hotel, would be operational by last fall, Parks Canada revised its expectation to the end of February, 2010. Now hotel officials said the plant, which treats water for use by hotel guests and sends waste water for treatment, won’t be fully online until June 1.

Parks Canada and its Advisory Development Board, which is supposed to involve Canadians in what projects go ahead in the Rocky Mountain parks, has given the hotel six months to show that the water use situation in the UNESCO World Heritage Site has improved.

“This is now really a state-of-the-art facility as it relates to the water treatment system and the distribution system,” said Gregor Resch, general manager of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Although the hotel says water production numbers for September, 2009, through February, 2010, were not collected as the old plant was taken out of service, Mr. Resch is confident progress has been made based on data available so far.

In March, there was a 26.5-per-cent water loss rate, which the hotel blamed on burst hydrants and metering problems at the beginning of the month, and in April the discrepancy was 12.7 per cent.

Experts say well-run water systems have loss rates of 8 to 12 per cent. The hotel says it has been told 10 to 20 per cent is acceptable.

“Parks Canada is definitely encouraged by these early results,” said Pam Veinotte, superintendent of the Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field unit. “However, we must see a sustained trend based on accurate data in order to determine that the discrepancy has been reduced to an acceptable level and that this issue has been completely resolved.”

Mr. Cabana said the early results show promise.

“[My] goal was in the beginning to protect Lake Louise as it could not protect itself,” he said. “I think that we have succeeded.”

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