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Kayakers, rafters oppose B.C. Hydro’s plan for Cheakamus

Recreation water users are again battling plans that would change water levels in a local river.


This time around it’s not an independent power project threatening them, rather a plan from B.C. Hydro to change the water flows in the Cheakamus River to increase power generation.

Reduced flows in the Cheakamus will threaten tourism operators using the river as well as kayakers. It could spell the end for a unique water experience in the Sea to Sky corridor.

"Essentially there are no other rivers in the province of British Columbia, which offer the same combination of introductory rafting experience, scenic location, proximity to population base, year-round season, and renowned wildlife attraction, as does the Cheakamus," wrote Stuart Smith and Evan Phillips, two opponents of the plan.

Smith, of the Whitewater Kayaking Association of B.C., and Phillips, representing the rafting business, made presentations to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District board on Monday and asked for support against B.C. Hyrdo’s plan.

The SLRD board was concerned about the lack of participation from local government in the plan and voted to send a letter expressing their concerns to the Water Comptroller of Land and Water B.C. They would like to be involved in the discussion prior to a decision being made on the Water Use Plan. That decision is supposed to be made by the end of the month.

Recreation users will have a third and final hearing with the comptroller, pleading their case, on Friday, Feb. 11.