Run of river like open-pit mining

The Village is to be commended for inviting Cloudworks to explain their hydro-electric plans for the Harrison watershed last Wednesday evening in Memorial Hall. We are in danger of losing four areas of outstanding natural beauty because someone in Los Angles wants to feel better about his profligate  electrical consumption.

Anyone who hasn’t seen the Big Silver River gorge, the red rocks of Shovel Creek, Rainbow Falls and  Slollicum Lake needs to get out there and take photos while you still can. The major problem with the current approval process is that people who live in Ottawa, Quebec, Victoria and Vancouver are  making the decisions while those of us most affected are largely ignored. Local input is confined to some shallow PR exercises masquerading as consultation. At the end of the day, the resource extraction industries come into our area, take what they what and leave a mess behind. These run of river projects are more like open-pit mining wastelands than environmentally-sensitive projects. Loggers are properly outraged that the expensive environmental standards required of them are completely ignored by the power companies working in the same woods.

Ironically, this double standard is applied in the name of helping the environment. Our environment, here around Harrison Lake, is being trashed for some questionable benefit for some other obscure objective, such as preservation of the global ozone layer. Alarmingly, no one is interested in doing a

limnology study of Harrison Lake itself which will, invariably, be affected by these projects.

It should be noted that around 100 years ago, before there was electricity in the Fraser Valley, the Harrison (St. Alice) Hotel had electric lights and an electric charabanc conveying guests to and from Agassiz station (a Rapide driven by Danny Perrault). All this was powered by a Pelton Wheel hydro-electric generator at Greenpoint using water from Trout Lake. Not quite “run-of-river” but very environmentally correct and greener than today’s fuel-burning vehicles.

John Allen

Harrison Hot Springs

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