SpruceRoots Magazine - March 2000


lake still full

by Erica Thompson

How many ways are there to start a stalled car? The government is back at the wheel trying once again to get information flowing around the proposed hydroelectric development at Takakia Lake.

Water Rights Specialist Gary Robinson of the Water Management Branch says a letter containing new deadlines has been sent out to all parties engaged in the debate over the future of the Moresby Island alpine lake. The letter introduces new deputy water controller, Jim Mattison, and puts forward his expectations around the information missing from the Takakia case. Robinson says they are expecting to see some action on the file by the end of March - a cool nine months since the public enquiry was held in Skidegate.

Since the June 1999 hearing, the most notable occurrence has been the hush surrounding the water license application. Will Queen Charlotte Power Corporation's (QCPC) designs for hydroelectric development, which will see water drawn down as far as 30 meters during the summer months into Moresby Lake, be approved? Will an alternate plan such as raising the existing Moresby Lake dam be proposed or is there a chance this debate will encourage new types power generation?

What is for certain is QCPC has failed to abide by the deadlines set by former Deputy Controller Prad Khare. In Khare's June 1999 interim report over 20 pieces of information from hydrology, to rare plants and lichens, to BC Hydro's PowerSmart programs were requested from various parties in order that he may formulate an answer to the proposed project. Robinson says in respect to the deputy controller change-over at the Branch these new deadlines will bolster the name of fair process and though he expects QCPC to provide the information needed to make a determination he does anticipate a time coming when enough waiting is enough waiting.

What the Water Management Branch is certain of is the need to set the stage for a fair process as the possibility of parties appealing the outcome to the independent Environmental Appeals Board looms if they are unsatisfied with the process, says Robinson. ·


SpruceRoots Magazine - February 2000