Miller Creek Power approval delayed Ski resorts still pending By Paul Andrew Almost a month has passed since the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District accepted David Andrews’ rezoning application for his independent power project, and he’s getting anxious. Andrews said this week he was hoping the routine first and second reading for his rezoning would go ahead at the SLRD’s Sept. 20 meeting, so that his proposed run-of-river Miller Creek Power project could move to the public hearing phase. "It feels like they’re squeezing us for more cash," Andrews said. "I don’t know. Maybe the SLRD has another project and they need $50,000. The problem is the longer it takes to get approval for the project, the harder it is for me to finance the project and sell the power. No one will touch it until the land is rezoned." But the SLRD has at least half a dozen issue on its agenda which administrator Rick Beauchamp says are of "major" significance to the corridor. In addition to ongoing business at the SLRD office in Pemberton, Beauchamp says due diligence was required on the Miller Creek project before any bylaws are drafted. "There was too much due diligence for the first and second readings to go ahead this month," Beauchamp said Tuesday. "We had to determine which lands would be impacted by the power project. We hope to have him back on the agenda in October. "But at the moment, we’re dealing with the application for the proposed ski resort at Cayoosh Creek; the Garibaldi at Squamish ski resort proposal; Britannia Beach reclamation, which is a landfill proposal; the Makin Housing development at Furry Creek; the Waterfront development at Furry Creek and Official Community Plans for both Area C (between Pemberton and Mount Currie) and Area D, between Whistler and Lion’s Bay. Andrews said he is optimistic about the sale of power from his proposed power facility in the Pemberton Watershed, some 15 kilometres from Pemberton Village. But time is money and he said it’s difficult, after some nine years of planning and investing more than $1 million, to wait another two months — after the application was accepted — for SLRD board members to give the project first and second reading. "It’s not the construction of the facility, it’s the approval. If we get approval that’s when we can shop the power around. I didn’t anticipate this problem with the SLRD. I thought I would have more problems with environmentalists." Andrew said the power from the project, equivalent to the power needed for 10,000 average sized houses, would most likely go into the Alberta power pool or the California/Oregon power grid. At that point, the power is sold by the hour to whoever needs it. "What will probably happen is we’ll sell all the power to one source, then they will in turn make it available in real time. We’re looking for a long-term power sale." In the meantime, Andrews said general work surrounding the project, such as consultant’s and engineer’s fees, must be paid. "I know they have a municipal election coming up in November so they have to deal with that. And then after that it’s Christmas break, so we might not have this public meeting until after the new year," Andrews said. "Turning us away for two months will really cost us." "I can understand Mr. Andrews’ frustration about his project not getting on the agenda," Beauchamp said, "but he’s not the only one. And it’s a good bet the project will not go to a public hearing until after the new year." Andrews suggested the Miller Creek Power project, with its regional and community tax benefits, jobs, and cash incentives promised to the Village of Pemberton, may not go ahead if the approval process drags on longer than what he sees as acceptable. "This can’t go on forever. Yes, the extreme case scenario is it won’t go through because the sale of power is contingent on the approval."