On Jan. 11 the SLRD board voted to oppose the proposed power project development on Ashlu Creek.
This issue has beleaguered our community for far too long, and on behalf of the concerned paddlers and community members, we wish to express our appreciation of the local governments response to the concerns that have been expressed.
At the same time, the overwhelming response from those I have spoken to who attended the third public hearing on this matter, is concern about the fragmentation of our community by this issue. That a lack of planning from the provincial government has placed the local government, and yes, even the developer, in this position is inexcusable.
It appears clear that responsibility for much of how this issue has divided our community must be accepted by the developer, due to the manner in which they chose to interact with those expressing concerns. Yet, while we should be celebrating that the Ashlu will be maintained as it is, we are saddened that this issue has been portrayed in such a confrontational manner, pitting neighbour against neighbour, and community against community.
We look forward to a planning process which will identify streams not appropriate for development, and which will also identify streams where these projects should be developed. Only through such a process can we as a united community provide certainty for our future needs, be they those of First Nations, energy needs, community needs, recreation and tourism needs, or of the needs to responsibly develop our resources.
The paddling community has never asked for more than to have some of the special waterways, that so characterize the unique recreational and tourism values of this area, set aside to be simply rivers and streams running free, for all to enjoy, now and in the future.
We ask the local government to take a lead in this effort, and to take the necessary steps now for planning to identify how these resources may be utilized in the future, so as to avoid the possibility of further controversy over the other such projects we know are proposed in this area.
WKABC River Projects Co-ordinator
It is 9 a.m. Saturday morning, I am surrounded by over 100 pieces of artwork and various other donations from the fundraising event held at the Telus Whistler Conference Centre for Southeast Asia Tsunami Relief. Judging by the amount of bid sheets and items that require pick up, to say the event was a success is an understatement. Since last Thursday when the go ahead was received to make this "suggestion" a reality the past week has had a somewhat surreal feel to it.