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Province to expropriate southern third of Pelham

Heat generated by $4 billion dollar crypto mining site will “essentially eliminate winter” in municipality BY APRIL FUELLES Special to The Voice QUEEN’S PARK, APRIL 1.

Heat generated by $4 billion dollar crypto mining site will “essentially eliminate winter” in municipality


Special to The Voice

QUEEN’S PARK, APRIL 1. The Ford government has confirmed that the Province of Ontario is set to exercise its powers of eminent domain to expropriate the entire southern third of the municipality of Pelham, including private homes, businesses, and municipal facilities.

“Private property owners will be fairly compensated,” said Minister for Corporate Acquiescence, Gerd Refluks, “based on the most recent MPAC property assessment figures. We think those are solid numbers. Home prices have stayed about the same since 2018.”

Approximately 10,000 acres are to be acquired, or roughly 17 square miles, containing some 2,100 private dwellings and businesses. Up to 5,500 Pelham residents will need to find new homes by the end of this year.

What’s coming? Cryptocurrency.

Specifically, tens of thousands of networked computers comprising the largest server farm in North America. Only the Ne Croyez Pas un Mot de Cela server farm, in Sérieusement Pas, France, is bigger. The province is partnering with an as-yet unnamed corporation.

Such server farms are employed to facilitate online transactions made by cryptocurrency traders around the globe, a process known informally as “crypto-mining.” Bitcoin is the best known cryptocurrency, but dozens of others have emerged on the scene in recent years.

With approximately 80,000 computer servers expected to be installed, the heat generated by the facility will literally create a new microclimate in Pelham, and, depending on wind direction, parts of Wainfleet and Welland.

“Basically winter as we know it in Central Niagara will be history,” said Brock Professor of Meteorology Pesce D'Aprile. “The enormous electricity consumption goes first to the CPUs, and then to the fans required to cool them. This, in turn, is vented out into the atmosphere. At the French server farm, winter snow squalls turn to lukewarm rain by the time precipitation hits the ground.”

D’Aprile said that Pelham’s new average temperature is likely to run about 17 to 18 degrees celsius in the coldest months of January and February.

“In other months, add about 20 degrees to the previous medians,” said D’Aprile. “One downside is that without sustained temperatures below freezing, gypsy moth populations are set to explode. With nothing to threaten their egg sacs, I’d expect to see total moth infestation in virtually every tree south of the QEW by 2025.”

A typical server farm. Some 80,000 servers are to be installed in Pelham. SUPPLIED

The area to be developed is located entirely within Pelham’s Ward 1, where Councillor Wayne Olson waxed enthusiastic about the “transformative potential” of the massive undertaking.

“I believe in proactively reconceptualizing one-to-one collaboration and idea-sharing,” Olson told the Voice. “That’s how we synergistically syndicate cloud-ready internal or ‘organic’ sources. As I learned over the years, monotonectally empowering cross-unit architectures is not just laudable, but fungible. It’s also the Year of the Garden.”

The ward’s other representative, Councillor Marianne Stewart, said she’s not unopposed to keeping an open mind.

“I can tell you one thing,” Stewart said, “when this comes before council and there’s a simple vote in the affirmative that means the negative, I absolutely will not vote the wrong way and then change that vote upon a flimsily justified reconsideration. That’s definitely going to happen. I mean not happen, it’s definitely not going to not happen.”

Niagara West MP Dean Allison, whose recently completed multi-million dollar mansion is located in the zone’s southwest corner, did not reply to a request for comment.

For his part, Mayor Marvin Junkin expressed relief that the Niagara Central Airport would remain untouched by the project, to serve as a freight depot for the tons of building materials needed.

“Make no mistake,” said Junkin, “Pelham would be nothing without that airport. Nothing! It’s our crown jewel. Why, I’d say it’s prettier than a speckled pup under a wagon with his tongue hanging out, and unlike the rest of this story that’s not fake news, no sir!”

April Fuelles is a freelance reporter whose stories appear annually on the first day of the fourth month of the year.