In Regards to the Rutherford and other proposed run of the river hydro projects in the Squamish/Whistler/Pemberton corridor:
I attended the council meeting on Oct. 15, 2001 that heard the community energy reduction recommendations for 2020 and the proposed hydroelectric projects on Brandywine and Rutherford Creeks.
It appears to me that the council is concerned about achieving environmental and financial sustainability and maintaining world class outdoor recreation activities.
Will the municipality really be able to control local water interests once a private company has shareholders and/or a profit margin to satisfy?
For an electricity company, maximum power output equals maximum financial input. With this in mind, I am afraid the power plant will divert as much water as possible and the interests of the river will be secondary.
If environmental and recreational concerns are to be considered in the daily running of these hydro schemes, who will be accountable for ensuring these concerns are policed?
Does the Miller Creek project help Pemberton residents work toward environmental sustainability, or is it just providing employment, some funding and taking profits and power out of town?
What benefits do Lillooet residents receive from the Bridge River project?
If it becomes law by 2020 for the building code and thus homeowners to power buildings using more sustainable sources (solar/wind/geothermal, etc.) should Whistler not produce its own electricity? Imagine that! The municipality could possibly solve most energy source concerns and all water control concerns by investing in building Whistler's own power plants on the Rutherford and Brandywine Creeks. These moves give Whistler the ability to supply cheaper local energy to its own community, takes us a step closer to environmental sustainability, and looks after environmental and recreational interests. Municipal buildings, local housing and electric cars can be supplied with electricity cheaper, and the excess could be sold for a quick return on initial investment.
No matter who becomes responsible for profiting from these hydro schemes, the public and environmental groups need to have their input seriously considered on how much water does not get diverted.
The only way to ensure that a certain percentage of the water remains in the river is by limiting the size of the power plant so that its maximum power output does not require much diverted water (February/March levels). However, this is impractical as the population is set to rise, requiring more power, runoffs will probably increase in the future, and it is logical to be able to harness energy during large water runoffs in the springtime.
River level gauges need to be placed above and below the intake pipe. These river levels need to be continuously accessible to the government bodies concerned and the public. (Kayaker freaks love to monitor water levels!) Perhaps they could be accessible on the Internet, or a telephone recording (similar to a windtalker).
The Crown owns all water rights, and the hydro electric project investors require the council's consent before they may proceed.
One question: Why sell out your water to companies/corporations and buy electricity in return, when you can possibly supply energy to yourself and the children of the future cheaper, and possibly forever?
Negative ion hunter
It seems that several Whistlerites including the "group of 24" and now your Mr. Maxwell have forgotten a very important point about the timing of the Vancouver Whistler Olympic bid process.
Didnt we stand up in front of the whole country and tell the Canadian Olympic Association that we wanted this? Didnt we dance about hugging each other and offer smug condolences to Calgary and Quebec City when we won this honour? Didnt we promise Vancouver that we would be their partners on this deal?
This community spent a lot of time, money, and effort to convince the COA that we were the best option. They listened to us, saw it our way and now we are not even sure if we want it? The moment the decision was made by the COA it stopped being the Vancouver Whistler bid and became the Canadian one. How could we be so smug as to now suggest we may not be interested?
I support Mayor OReillys reluctance to open the issue to debate. The time for debate was before we offered to carry the flag. Now we should be focussing on putting the best possible bid foreword and not debating the very existence of an honour we practically begged for. If Councillor Wells, the "group of 24" and assorted others feel we are past the point of no return, let them be the ones to break it to the rest of the nation.