BC Hydro will be reviewing the operation of its hydroelectric facilities around the province, including a water use planning process for its Cheakamus hydroelectric facility at Daisy Lake.
Water flows from the Daisy Lake dam into the Cheakamus River have been increased to provide more water for fish and fish habitat.
Under the current water licence that incorporates the flow changes, BC Hydro is required to release an average of 45 per cent of the water that entered the reservoir the previous day.
The new plan will be developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks; the Ministry of Fisheries; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; local governments; First Nations; community groups; and other stakeholders.
"Within the interim agreement, changes to water flows from the Daisy Lake reservoir more closely resemble natural flow patterns on the Cheakamus River," said fisheries minister, Dennis Streifel. "Salmon stocks will be monitored to see how much increased flows benefit fish population, including steelhead stocks and Dolly Varden char."
Last week, residents of the Whistler-Squamish area were invited to share their ideas and pose questions regarding BC Hydro’s local operations. Two Cheakamus River Water Use Plan (WUP) open-houses were held June 15 and 16 to begin the review process of the hydroelectric generating facilities on the Cheakamus River.
Attendees were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their views on the Cheakamus River WUP and their concerns about hydroelectric facilities in their area. Results from the questionnaires indicate the community is primarily concerned about environmental issues, particularly flooding, erosion and fish habitat.
"This process is so preliminary yet, it’s difficult to be specific about the issues," said Barry Wilkinson, community relations co-ordinator for BC Hydro. "Certain individuals have come forward and expressed their concerns, and as we move through this process, those things will be quantified. It will take another couple of months before this moves towards the next interesting level."
The purpose of the review is to develop parameters for the storage and release of water from Daisy Lake, and the operation of the Cheakamus generating station.