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Approvals pending for Innergex

EAO confirms some conditions of the Construction Environmental Management Plan not yet met

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Susie Gimse, the director of Area C, said: "Local government does not have the authority to zone or regulate power projects. We lost that ability with Bill 30. Do I like it? No. But that is the reality...

"We do have the authority to work with them and mitigate concerns. In my mind, that's where my focus will be... With the TUP we have the ability to regulate a little bit."

She added that they encourage Innergex to get their permits and tenure in place.

"With regards to clearing the line, I hope they do that in a safe manner. Perhaps there's an opportunity for the community barn in Pemberton, for the Farmers Market. They are looking for a lot of timber to build it and Innergex will be doing a fair amount of logging," Gimse said.

Brusche said they are seeking to have the TUPs added to the agenda for the Aug. 26 meeting, subject to a vote by directors to allow this at the July 22 meetng.

Gwen Barlee of the Wilderness Committee has followed the debate of the Upper Lillooet IPP and has used Freedom of Information requests to break problems with other independent run-of-river projects. She said the SLRD's rejection of the TUPs had surprised her.

"The overriding question to me is what happens if that SLRD refuses that permit again? What does that mean under Bill 30? I didn't think municipalities had the ability to stop projects if they had concerns, so to me this feels like a test case," Barlee said.

When asked about the province stepping in to enforce Bill 30, Barlee replied: "The optics aren't very good on that."

An email from the environment ministry spelled out Innergex's requirements.

"A final CEMP must be approved by the Environmental Assessment Office and Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations at least 30 days before commencement of construction on the project," wrote David Karn of the Ministry of the Environment. Karn said that the table of conditions for the Upper Lillooet Hydro Project lists the points that must be completed or satisfied prior to construction.

Number one is the full CEMP, which includes access management, emergency response, clearing plans, waste management and 19 other conditions that concern everything from fish habitat to old growth forest management to grizzly bear management. Details of all the EAO conditions for the project can be found online at www.eao.gov.bc.ca.

Karn did not state how much work needed to be carried out by Innergex.

"Innergex is also required to submit a compliance report to the Environmental Assessment Office one month prior to substantially starting construction on any of the project facilities. The report will outline compliance with all certificate requirements," Karn wrote.

"Innergex must adhere to all requirements of their Environmental Assessment Certificate to remain in compliance.  The Environmental Assessment Office is in ongoing communication with Innergex and they are fully aware of their obligations."

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