Estevan, home to two coal-fired power generating stations — Boundary Dam Power Station and the Shand Power Station — has won the right to host a carbon-neutral music festival next year.
“People just got excited about this thing and really got involved in this energy conservation initiative. I’m glad we won. Now we get a free concert and that will be nice,” said Estevan Mayor Gary St. Onge.
Flick-Fest Music Festival is the prize in a national competition sponsored by FLICK OFF, a cross-country initiative aimed at fighting global warming. The initiative was founded by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Mobile Canada, MuchMusic, Roots Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and registered charity Environmental Defence.
“Just the idea of flicking off a switch to reduce our carbon emissions was quite an idea. It is something we have talked a lot about lately in Estevan because of the proposed clean-coal power plant that we were suppose to get,” St. Onge said, adding the project was cancelled because of high costs but will be revisited in 2009.
“If we can use our coal in a manner that is environmentally friendly, why wouldn’t you use the 200 to 300-years of coal that we have under the ground here. We have resources like that and if we can use them in a manner that is not detrimental to the planet we should be doing it. So it is very important.”
St. Onge said the festival will put a spotlight on the city, which is considered the energy capital of the province because of its power-generating capacity and the oil activity.
“It will be exciting and we are pretty proud we won,” he said.
On Monday Branson announced Estevan, which has a population of about 10,000, beat out Duncan, B.C., and Wolfville, N.S., based on the number of entries per capita logged onto the FLICK OFF site and the pledges to reduce power consumption and carbon emissions.
“Humanity’s window to act on climate change is narrowing,” Branson said in a prepared statement.
“And it’s up to each of us to find new ways of getting more people involved in this global fight. So next spring, Estevan will hold a carbon-neutral party to raise awareness — spreading the word to more Canadians. It’s going to be a blast.”
No date has been set for the free-admission Flick-Fest Music Festival which will be hosted by Estevan next year.
“We love that Estevan’s known as the Energy City,” said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence in a news release.
“With their major industries focused on power generation, they are living proof that fossil fuels and clean, climate-saving energy can grow in the same place. We look forward to breaking down old barriers and motivating a whole new generation of environmentalists in the spring.”