The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has rejected a request from energy company Innergex for three Temporary Use Permits (TUPs) for the Upper Lillooet independent power project.
The permits were required to allow Innergex to start construction at the run-of-river power project's three sites: Boulder Creek, Upper Lillooet River and North Creek.
All three IPP sites are located in SLRD Area C, around 60km northwest of Pemberton.
SLRD Area C director Susie Gimse said she and two other directors voted in favour of granting the TUPs at the SLRD board's monthly meeting in Lillooet on Monday, June 24. Six voted against.
She said that one of the main issues for the board was that some of the land tenures required from the provincial government had not yet been granted. The tenures cover sites where construction will occur as part of the project. Gimse said the missing land tenures would be for onsite parking areas, access road, and the like.
Another concern was that a parking area near Keyhole Falls, currently used by snowmobilers and where one of the run-of-river intake sections would be located, was designated in the TUP as being where construction would take place.
"Innergex stated they had received two of the permits, possibly last week, but when we pressed them it wasn't clear what the permits were for," Gimse said.
She said that the board felt that Innergex had been "somewhat dismissive of their concerns."
SLRD Area A Director Debbie Demare said she voted in favour of the TUPs on June 10 at the four-member Electoral Area Directors Committee meeting, but changed her mind by the time all the SLRD directors met on June 24.
"What got my antenna up was a letter sent to us by Innergex. It mentioned that they went to our (previous) meeting and found it disconcerting other issues were brought up by other elected officials. I wasn't happy... I found the tone and comments disrespectful," Demare said.
Demare added she had heard concerns expressed by snowmobiling company owners and members of the sledding community, particularly over the fact that the Lillooet Forest Service Road would be ploughed in the winter, limiting use of the area by snowmobilers seeking access to the Hurley Road area.
"This sport generates a lot of economic activity in my area in the winter," Demare said.
Demare followed up the meeting with a call to the Minister of Forests. Demare said the ministry told her they were aware of concerns but were unable to tell her how any restrictions of usage in the land permits would be defined. Ministry staff also advised her that there were considerations for a rerouted road, bridge and parking, she said.
"The situation is that the permits were not in place and I felt this was endangering the interests of the public," Demare said.
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