Power project going ahead despite community opposition 


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Over the past three weeks, Morrow said they have weighed the pros and cons of all the options before them, running each through a set methodology.

"This was no an ad hoc process," he said.

Before presenting EPCOR’S final solution, Morrow ran through the five criteria:

• Community expectations;

• Environmental impacts;

• Technical requirements;

• Economic viability, and

• Safety standards.

Each was weighed differently.

"We need to use (community expectations), I suggest, as our primary filter," Morrow said.

He said the community expected a solution with minimal environmental impact, which would not ruin the aesthetics of the valley.

His solution to introduce only five more poles, most only four feet higher, addressed that primary expectation, he said.

But at the end of the meeting, Susan Gimse, director for Electoral Area C in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, in which the project is located, questioned how they weighed each criteria.

She suggested economic viability may have weighed in heavier that the community expectations.

The new proposal will cost $500,000 more than the original proposal but is much less than the $5.5 million quoted to run the cables underground.

The capital costs of the project are roughly $40 million. The underground route would add more than 10 per cent to their capital costs. This is just not feasible, said Morrow.

An underground route would also knock the project off schedule for about one year, causing more financial setbacks.

Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner asked if the project could be considered a beautification project, in which case B.C. Hydro would pay for one-third of the costs for the lines to go underground.

She was told by B.C. Hydro community relations co-ordinator Barry Wilkinson that it could be considered for a beautification project.

But that would leave EPCOR or the village to come up with the remaining two-thirds of the capital costs.

Despite the public support for the underground route, EPCOR dismissed the option.

"If you really want to win the hearts of the community, you have to offer a little better," said Peter Pocklington, who owns two properties on Pemberton Meadows Road.

He threw out the idea of offering the community $1 million for what they see as the broken promises.

"You screwed up. You stirred up a hornet’s nest here."

The confusion over the transmission of power lines dates back more than three years, before EPCOR was even involved.

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