Pemberton residents seem to be on board with a proposal for a small-scale hydroelectric project at nearby Rutherford Creek.
"The view that I most typically heard was that this appears to be a low-impact and well thought-out proposal," says Rick Staehli, a Pemberton resident and director for Rutherford Creek Power Ltd. RCPL representatives are pleased with the level of positive local interest, and say more than 30 people attended an open house help by the company last month.
"The open house was also a very good opportunity for more detailed discussions with some of the other users of this watershed," said Staehli.
Members of the Pemberton Snowmobile Club, who had been in discussions with RCPL prior to the open house, attended the meeting to discuss access. It is expected that access to some backcountry areas that are currently being used by snowmobilers will be improved if the project proceeds.
Local kayakers also attended the open house. While the use of Rutherford Creek for kayaking is generally limited to a few months a year, RCPL believes that the creek will continue to be suitable for kayaking if the project proceeds. RCPL say they will have further discussions with kayakers in the coming weeks to discuss their concerns.
Prior to the open house, RCPL also made presentations to the Village of Pemberton and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District to provide councillors and directors with an overview of the proposed hydroelectric project. The project is expected to generate significant tax revenues and provide other benefits for the community.
RCPL is inviting public input over the next few weeks, says RCPL vice president and project co-ordinator Nick Andrews. You can reach members of the project team at (604) 894-1105 or at www.rutherfordpower.com.
The company also expects to file a completed Environmental Socio-Economic Report next month, which will provide a more detailed project design and lay out the findings of environmental impact assessments that have already been completed.