Letters to the editor for the week of August 22nd 

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Keeping IPPs in the news

In response to Bruce Kay's patronizing "letter to the editor" (Pique, Aug.15) which accused me of sending in "weekly repetition (sic) of wildly divergent, speculative and often irrelevant assertions," firstly, thanks to Bruce for being a loyal reader! Secondly, I repeat myself in the hope that more B.C.ers will wake up to the harms that BC Liberal's "Clean" Energy policy inflicts on B.C. taxpayers (increased utility rates), on BC Hydro (likely bankruptcy and privatization due to highly priced private power that B.C. does not need) and on our public land (diversion of many fish-bearing rivers coupled with the industrialization and fragmentation of wilderness areas without any little regard for cumulative impacts).

Bruce, like many other B.C.ers, seems unaware of, or perhaps willfully blind, to the fact that river diversion projects are not as green as independent power producers (IPPs) would like the public to think. A June 2013 report (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wrcr.20243/abstract?goback=%2Egmp_4928907%2Egde_4928907_member_231470679#%21) highlights that river diversion projects often have greater impacts on habitat and hydrology — sometimes by several orders of magnitude — than of large dams, including due to the dewatering of rivers. So contrary to Kay's claim that technology is not an issue, this peer-reviewed research found that it is.

Kay's claim regarding Ashlu's "one event of water-flow management error" is also erroneous. A government report (Menezes 2012 Operational Non-compliance Report) stated that Innergex's Ashlu river diversion project had three reported incidents in 2010, which resulted in killed or stranded fish.

The same government report found that Innergex's Fitzsimmons Creek diversion project had the highest number of reported non-compliance incidents with in-stream flow requirements (IFR), namely 22 incidents.

This was more than three times the number of reported IFR non-compliance incidents than the second worst offender.

I could go on but risk repeating myself given that the report found 700 reported incidents of non-compliance by IPPs in 2010 in southwest B.C. The Menezes Report stressed that there may well have been many more non-compliance incidents than the ones reported by IPPs, including Innergex. Another government report highlighted IPPs' wide spread non-compliance with their monitoring commitments (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/348172.pdf).

On the issue of climate change, a financially viable BC Hydro with money to upgrade its existing hydro projects is a much better tool against climate change than allowing IPPs to divert hundreds of rivers, especially given the absence of any regional or provincial planning process.     

Last but not least, I support micro-hydro projects with minimal dewatering that supply power locally; are not located in fish-bearing creeks or in areas where there are species at risk or threatened grizzly bear populations.

These projects do not require massive infrastructure, such as a 72-km transmission line like Innergex/Creek Power Inc.'s Upper Lillooet River Hydro Project or the 344-km northwest one.

My beef against river diversion projects has nothing to do with NIMBYism but with poor policy, B.C.'s flawed environmental assessment process, the lack of meaningful public input; the undermining of democracy due to Bill 30, etc., etc. but I repeat myself.

Louise Taylor


Volunteering for Crankworx

My wife and I have just return from a two-week stay in the Whistler-Pemberton area where we had a great time with our son (Colin) and daughter-in-law (Erica), but also thoroughly enjoyed Crankworx.

From the bike activities, to the night-time slide shows/videos, to the vendors/sponsors tents it was a great show.

We were hooked the day we watched the Enduro where we cheered for a local racer (Davis) and learned about volunteering.

Both Diane and I volunteered on two occasions and got to know a great bunch of dedicated volunteers who support Crankworx.

The core volunteer group and course/activity teams are working late in the day and are back early in the morning to facilitate the entire Crankworx show. Truly the show could not go on without them.

Thank you Whistler and thank you volunteers.

Robert Fisher
Belleville, Ontario

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