The Narrows Inlet hydro project is proposing to drain three more alpine lakes to generate power in addition to the one they are already draining, Tyson Lake.
They call these projects run-of-the-river, but this is a misnomer. They should be called drain-the-lake projects. The main differences between the two types of power projects is that in the case of the lakes, the water levels are made to fluctuate up and down as much as 24 metres. Water is drained at unnatural times of the year to coincide with times that are most profitable for power generation.
With these projects, there is the potential for siltation to occur which could affect salmon and other aquatic life in streams and eventually Narrows Inlet below the generating plants. This scenario played out to ill effect in the Tyson Lake project. When I spoke to the company biologist at the recent public meeting in Sechelt, I suggested that the level of fluctuation would destroy the ecology of these lakes and he essentially agreed. Indeed, he said that was the nature of any hydro project that involved significant level fluctuations of the reservoirs. The effect of draining the lakes in the middle of the winter on salmon populations that exist in the watersheds below the power stations is unknown.
I think if these projects were advertised as involving the destruction of our alpine ecologies for limited economic benefit to the populace, there would be a lot less public support. Is this the legacy we wish to leave our children?
Greg Deacon, Sechelt