Miller Creek Power pushes ahead with open house Duck expert says area all clear By Paul Andrew The president of a controversial independent power project proposed for the Miller Creek Watershed in Pemberton says all the land disputes regarding the powerline from the plant have been resolved. David Andrews has also ruled out the possibility of a rare duck’s habitat being destroyed by the $30 million private project. Harlequin ducks were reported in the area, so Andrews hired an expert on the water foul to determine if the ducks’ home was threatened. "It was a harlequin duck expert," Andrews said Wednesday. "He came back and said there are no ducks of that sort in the immediate area. His word is honoured with the agencies involved. So I’m hoping people will see that we’re going to investigate every question surrounding this project. I don’t know how much it cost. But it was two or three hours helicopter-time, plus an engineer." Andrews and his team of geologists and power company officials have recently been in the Pemberton and Whistler Valleys doing more research on the project, which he says will take two years to complete and provide some jobs for the local workforce. Open houses for MCPP’s independent power project are scheduled for Aug. 13 and 14. So far, Andrews has been flatly refused a re-zoning hearing with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District. In addition, Andrews said there were problems with the powerline route. "Initially, we had the powerlines going through two or three private properties. And there was some confusion there, but it was only on the very tip or corner of the property. That’s all been changed now and it’s only going through one private property, and the owner welcomes it." Andrews says it is private property owners such as Rick Staehli who believe the independent power project is a sound investment for the community to buy into, and that he represents the silent majority in the area. "There seems to me there is a loud minority of people who either aren’t clear on the issues or who are against it for personal reasons," Andrews said. "But when we apply for these kinds of things, at least 40 different federal and provincial agencies, ministries, and local governments review every aspect. And we intend to be at the open house with answers, or we’ll get the answers, to every question." The Millar Creek Power Company has also promised a community grant of $250,000 if the project is approved. An additional $40,000 per year will follow that commitment for the life of the power generating facility. Andrews said it is up to the community of Pemberton to decide what it wants to do with the money. "We’ve got all our technical problems worked out for the project itself, we’re just working on the community outreach now."