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Province grants tax relief for IPPs

Water flows into state of the art kayak facilities at Rutherford Creek Power Project

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"I do hope we see some Olympic gold medals when it comes to Beijing, resulting from this particular project."

Though the water is in place, kayakers will not be paddling in the park until the spring.

Stuart Smith, rivers projects co-ordinator with the Whitewater Kayaking Association of British Columbia, said some of the features in the park are a little too aggressive and need a little fine-tuning.

In addition, the powerhouse is missing one of its turbines and as such, the park can only reach half of its potential water levels.

Smith said they would like to test the park when they can test all water levels.

After that the course, which will be called the Cloudworks Whitewater Facility, will be open to the public.

"We’ve yet to establish all the protocols," said Smith.

"Anybody who wants to use the facility is going to have to be covered under our insurance so that means they have to become a member (of the WKABC)."

Smith said the WKABC would likely have a schedule of water releases so some days the park could have low water flow and other days it could have higher, more challenging levels.

"We hope in the end it’ll be a good thing," said Smith cautiously, adding that there have been some critics of the deal within the paddling community.

"I guess we’re all still a little nervous because who knows if the whole thing (will) work out and (if) we made all those compromises for something that doesn’t work, we’ll all be disappointed. At this point we’re still on track to see how it goes."

Over an average year the Rutherford Creek project will produce enough energy to power roughly 17,000 homes.

A buried pipeline takes water from the creek and funnels it down 360 vertical metres to turbines in the powerhouse.

After it produces energy the water is either re-diverted back into the creek or down the one-kilometre long kayak facility and then back into the creek.

The government will provide partial property tax exemption for the penstock system (the underground pipeline) of the run of river projects.

The proposed exemption would begin in the 2005 tax year for all run of river projects that begin production after Dec. 31 2003.

"Currently independent power producers supply about 10 per cent of all electricity in our province," said Penner.

"Over time this amount is expected to increase gradually.

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