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The Town decided that instead of spending any more money on engineers and experts to solve the problem of poor lake water quality and re-occuring blue-green algae issues they would take the brave move and sell off the entire lake, although some call the move a completely irresposible use of Brome's natural and historical resources.
Workers installed pumps on the ice to begin draining the lake in a process that would take three years. The water, rich in phosphorous, will be sold to a Magog firm to develop an exportable form of natural "Green" fuel.
Last minute negotiations by the Town of Brome Lake with BioGreenz Ltd., the International bio-fuel conglomerate, have secured a deal which would see the entire supply of the algae-ridden waters of Brome Lake being sold to the bio-fuel manufacturer in return for over $920 Million dollars.
The entire liquid supply of Brome Lake, all the water, is being sold to a local Townships company who plans to drain the lake in order to make a new, hyper-powerful bio-diesel in a move that shows Brome Lakes serious approach to going Green.
But some residents are upset that Going Green suddenly means Going Dry!
The algae-rich water of Brome Lake are going to be used to create a valuable resource as opposed to the yearly problems the lake has caused; but the new deal means that within three years the lake will be nothing but a dry crater filled with nothing but a mixture akin to soupy bran muffin mix filled with cigarette butts and beer bottles and golf balls and plastic ducks from years of ice fishing and fund-raisers and duck races near the lake!
The blue-green algae that pollutes many Quebec lakes and ponds has been a growing problem but Brome Lake is the first municipality to realize that they may be sitting on a Billion Dollar Asset and has decided that it may be best to sell the entire lake than try and solve the issue of yearly pollution! Blue-green algae is suddenly being hailed by International Scientists as the newest bio-fuel miracle-component as well as potentially a disease-fighting cancer-bashing natural wonder!
Relatively high oil prices, advances in technology, and the Lac Brome administration's increased emphasis on renewable fuels are attracting new interest in a potentially rich source of biofuels: algae. A number of startups are now demonstrating new technology and launching large research efforts aimed at replacing hundreds of millions of gallons of fossil fuels by 2010, and much more in the future.
Algae makes oil naturally. Raw algae can be processed to make biocrude, the renewable equivalent of petroleum, and refined to make gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and chemical feedstocks for plastics and drugs. Indeed, it can be processed at existing oil refineries to make just about anything that can be made from crude oil. This is the approach being taken by startup BioGreenz Ltd. based in Magog, Quebec.
Alternatively, strains of algae that produce more carbohydrates and less oil can be processed and fermented to make ethanol, with leftover proteins used for animal feed. This is one of the potential uses of algae produced by the heavily polluted Brome Lake.
At first, the Town and groups such as Renaissance Lac Brome were spending much time and money to find solutions for solving the annual closures of the lake due to blue-green algae. But fortunately, smarter heads prevailed when it was decided by the majority of the town that perhaps the algae was a natural resource that should be exploited. Instead of trying to fight what Mother Nature delivered and what had until now been considered merely a pollution, the "Brainiacs of Brome" came to understand that this horrid mixture of toxic liquid could actually be worth something.
One Brome Lake Official, speaking to us on guarantee of anonymity, stated: "This pea soup we call a lake has been a real pain in the Aspen, Colorado!" he cursed, "We have angry residents, angry businesses, angry waterfront property owners all complaining that we need to do something to clean up the lake! But report after report and consultation after consultation all lead to one conclusion: cleaning up the lake will cost millions of tax dollars!"
Last year, the firm BioGreenz Ltd., approached residents and officials with a somewhat unique and innovative plan: instead of fighting the blue-green algae, why not harness the sloppy toxic stew to make inexpensive fuel so we could drive our vehicles for much less cost. The proposed new line of bio-fuel, tentatively called Brome Lake Gas™ would, according to BioGreenz Ltd spokeswoman Aineedhia Baleevit, be able to supply enough bio-diesel to operate 40,000 vehicles for a year.
"That of course, depends on the size of the vehicle being fuelled. We calculated that if we could fuel 40,000 regular vehicles for a year it would be equivalent to only 5 of the monster trucks that show up at the Big Brome Fair", stated Baleevit.
Brome lake is know for The Big Brome Fair, one of the premier agricultural fairs in Eastern Canada, and the highlight of many vacationers visit to the Eastern Townships. The startling news delivered by BioGreenz Ltd that the Brome Fair’s yearly Tractor Pull Event used more fossil fuels on a Sunday afternoon than all the residents of Stagecoach, Sugar Hill and Mount Echo used in an entire year combined lead one brave Brome Fair insider to promise:
"We strive to be an environmental fair! If the factualities of this firms facts are firmly factual then we promise to make big changes so we reduce the impact our entertainment has on the environment!" he said, "Even if that means turning the tractor pull event into a donkey pull!"
A random survey of patrons of The Thirsty Boot, outside of Knowlton near the Beaver Pond Motel, found that most people were not impressed at the thought of watching stubby-legged donkeys pulling cement blocks across the grandstand field instead of the loud honkin’ tractors!
"Shoot!" exclaimed one patron as he took a break from his wobbly Karaoke singing, "If I wanted to watch mutant asses stumbling across a public stage up to their knees in mud I could just go to a monthly council meeting!"
Right Said Fred! But surely this comment, by one of Knowltons’ wanna be Canadian Idol hopefuls, was a lighthearted jab at the Town leaders who have been busy this year trying to bring all aspects of the town together. From the Chamber of Commerce, to the Main Street program, to the residents and volunteers who work so hard together in the re-building of our precious town, the Town of Brome has ramped up their efforts to bring cohesion and positivity to Brome Lake.
This new initiative to sell off the water of Brome Lake in order to create a source of fuel is one example of how our leaders have chosen a positive direction for the local economy. Of course, not everyone affected by the selling off of the 400 million gallons of lake water is feeling so happy. One business owner, and lakeside property owner, was less than impressed by the new deal which would see the draining of Brome Lake within 3 years. He has since launched a lawsuit against the Provincial Government and the Town of Lac Brome.
"They want to drain the lake and within 3 years it will be nothing but a gloomy crater with only 12 inches of stinky muck full of worm colonies at the bottom! We used to have motorboats and sailboats and swimmers in the lake and they all co-existed with the toxic muck, duck poop and poisonous, stinky water just fine! What kind of message are we sending out now?!" asked the bare-chested resident.
The sale of the lake water, which has yet to be approved by both Federal and Provincial Governments, is expected to receive final acceptance by both Government Departments in charge of the Environment and Economic Development within 10 days, once the officials return from their 8 week holiday.
This means that the trucks from the Magog firm will soon begin showing up at the bridge beside the Auberge Quilliams to begin pumping the algae-rich waters of Brome Lake to transport it to the Magog treatment plant. The pumper trucks will be arriving at a rate of 300 trucks per day to begin draining the lake and hauling the phosphorous rich waters to Magog for processing into bio-diesel.
Residents between Highway 10 and The Quilliams are not too impressed by the addition of 600 truck trips per day destined to pass in front of their once quiet homes on Lakeside Road. However, the fact that the royalties on this deal earned by TBL, which will amount to over $60,000 per resident per year for the next 3 years, will likely defer any anger residents currently have over traffic disruptions and loss of the lake.
The entire volume of Brome Lake will be completely drained, leaving only a small patch of mud in the central deep zones, within 3 years.
The good news is that the new partnership with BioGreenz Ltd will mean that every card-carrying Brome Lake resident will be eligible to recive the Brome Lake Gas bio-diesel at only 6 cents per litre. As an added bonus every resident will receive four free tickets to the annual Brome Fair Ass Pull!