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Garbage could heat Olympic village

Allen Best

WHISTLER, B.C. – Whistler and British Columbia certainly talked the environmental talk when soliciting the 2010 Winter Olympics. It’s now time to see if they will walk the sustainability walk.At issue, explains Pique newsmagazine, is how the Olympic village where athletes stay will be heated. The resort community could go the conventional route – electric baseboards – or it could adapt a variety of more innovative technologies that have greater initial expense but ultimately less impact on the planet.One idea it to use a new gasification process, whereby municipal solid waste would be burned to produce heat and electricity. The cost is $45 million, as opposed to $300,000 for baseboard heaters.This would eliminate the need for Whistler having to ship its garbage elsewhere, but it will require the removal of all recyclable and compostible materials, as well as batteries and PVCs.Another idea is for Whistler to tap the methane gas that is seeping out of the community’s landfill. This would reduce Whistler’s contribution of greenhouse gases, a goal it has already adopted by endorsing the Kyoto Protocol.Injury leads to sledding crackdownBERTHOUD PASS – The U.S. Forest Service is clamping down on sledding at the former Berthoud Pass ski area. The agency took the stance after learning that an 8-year-old child had suffered spinal injuries recently. The child had apparently slid across a berm of snow and into the windshield of a parked car. As well, there have been a broken arm and other injuries.”The injuries were almost a weekly event,” Brad Orr, a Forest Service employee, told the Winter Park Manifest. “The speed at which they were coming down the hill, over the berm and into the parking lot, we had no choice but to close it down before somebody got killed.”In a somewhat parallel case, the Forest Service closed down a popular sledding area near Vail, at the former Meadow Mountain ski area, after being sued as the result of a sledding accident.But that hill has reopened to sledding now that a private company is running the operation. Fees are now charged, but a rope two has been built. Vail, Colorado


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