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Definite 'no' at Pemberton Creek IPP info session

The main interest was to keep the area wild, says Village of Pemberton report



Pemberton council has received the result of its public information session into the proposed Pemberton Creek IPP – and it's a resounding "no."

Around 150 Pemberton residents gave their verdicts on the plan at the event at Signal Hill Community School on April 25, which was outlined by Chief Administrative Officer Daniel Sailland in a follow-up summary paper presented at a Special Council Meeting of the Village of Pemberton (VOP) on May 28.

Ten opponents to the proposal, which if passed would see the VOP become part owners in the run-of-river project, attended the daytime meeting to hear the results.

A summary report of the event said "a clear majority of event participants were opposed to this concept."

Using a scale of stickers representing whether participants were happy or unhappy with the Pemberton Creek IPP concept, 70 indicated their opposition while only one appeared to be in favour.

Twenty-seven post-it notes said "no" to the proposal but did not say why. Others cited environmental concerns (36 comments), no need for surplus hydro (seven comments), and a lack of community control (six comments).

Out of reasons to support the project, the potential revenue and low risk for the VOP was mentioned by seven.

The study conclusion said that given the opposition, it was clear that the main interest by participants was to keep the area wild.

Taking the Pemberton Creek IPP concept further, the report suggested surveying Pemberton residents to get a statistically valid sample of the population to get a sense of overall support, or lack of it, for the proposal.

Another possibility is using focus groups to better understand the concerns and discuss potential solutions.

The IPP concept for Pemberton Creek would include a 12 to 15 MW run-of-river power plant providing enough power annually to cover twice the amount of total home energy now used in Pemberton, according to a public information sheet.

The timeframe for the project would be an engagement, construction and start-up process of four to 10 years followed by a 40-year operation lifetime of the plant. The village said its revenue from a 49 per cent stake in the project would be $800,000 in the 10th year. Overall project costs would come to $40 million to $50 million, with a minimum of $8 million cash investment and a loan of $32 million.

A motion to receive the report passed, with discussion expected to take place at June's Committee of the Whole Meeting.