The Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) will soon accept a Clean Energy Award for their role in the Sechelt Creek run-of-river hydro project, developed in partnership with Regional Power.
The honour from Clean Energy BC (CEBC) is for environmental stewardship and community improvement and it will be awarded at next weekend’s CEBC conference in Vancouver.
“Sechelt Creek stands out not only for environmental protection, but also for its long and strong partnership with the shíshálh First Nation, and with the regional forest industry, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and others,” said CEBC executive director Paul Kariya. “The result is a socially and environmentally responsible and successful source of electricity to help meet B.C.’s growing energy needs.”
The $30-million run-of-river project generates enough power to supply up to 9,000 homes with energy each year.
The project also boasts an enhanced salmon spawning stream that saw a record 20,000 pink salmon return this year. The enhanced stream was a vision of shíshálh elders who encouraged leaders to work with Regional Power to ensure the environment didn’t suffer from the building of a power plant within their traditional territory.
Regional Power had the same environmental goals and the two groups embarked on a partnership at Sechelt Creek back in 1997. Over the years the plant has performed consistently well and the creek has seen increasing salmon returns, with a record return this year.
Members of the SIB, Regional Power and invited guests celebrated the accomplishment onsite last month.
The huge salmon return helped push the project to the forefront of nominees in the environmental stewardship and community improvement category of the Clean Energy Awards this year.
“It is great to be recognized,” SIB resource director Sid Quinn said this week. “This is a great way to cap things off.”
SIB Chief Garry Feschuk said the band is “happy and honoured” to receive the Sechelt creek project award.
“This is a project that can be showcased. It shows you what can be done when everybody’s working together,” Feschuk said. “It talks about collaboration, about what can happen when everybody’s on the same page and has their eye on the same goal. To me that’s a model of a project that can happen anywhere within our territory as long as we follow those same guidelines.”
Quinn said the SIB is now considering partnership with Renewable Energy to build a run-of- river hydro station on another stream in Narrows Inlet.
“It’s at the preliminary stages and we’re going to collect some more data,” Quinn said.
“We’re going to look at a project and a design similar to Sechelt Creek. We’re looking for a suitable site and a suitable project.”