International guests visited the Sechelt Creek and Bear Hydro Clowhom electric projects this past week in a tour hosted by the Sechelt Indian Band.
Dignitaries from California included Sen. Darrel Steinberg and Ted Gaines, United States House Rep. Ken Cooley and Ezilda Samoville. Also on hand were Cassie Doyle, Consul General of Canada, and Geoff Reid, political/economic specialist, and representatives from Powerex, Clean Energy BC, Capstone Infrastructure and Regional Power.
The Sept. 17 trip was arranged by Clean Energy BC to provide the U.S. dignitaries insight into how British Columbia’s green energy run-of-the-river Hydro projects are developed and operated.
The shíshálh First Nation xwamtsut singers welcomed the visitors to their territory.
shíshálh resource director Sid Quinn gave an overview of their Nation’s government involvement and partnership in developing successful green energy hydro projects, as well as the Elders’ vision for enhancing the salmon and designing the power house in the form of a two-pole Coast Salish long house at Sechelt Creek.
Regional Power representatives David Carter and James Carter gave a tour inside the hydro power plant followed by a helicopter view of the intake, penstock, tailrace and head-waters of the two projects.
Part of the Sechelt Creek tour was also to see the spawning/rearing channel that was built as part of the hydro project, which has a record return of 20,000 pink salmon this year.
“It was very exciting for the guests to watch the salmon spawning and to participate in the celebration of the project’s success,” said Quinn in a news release. “All the honoured guests participated in a traditional First Nations blanketing ceremony by the xwamtsut ambassadors who blanketed and gave gifts to them and then sang the shíshálh honour song.”
As part of the ceremony and of the commitment from receiving the Blue Planet Prize in 2005 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, for the Sechelt creek project, Quinn asked the guests to take back the knowledge gained by this experience and to share this memorable event and successful project with others.
Steinberg thanked the members of the Nation for an “incredible experience.”