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Run of river projects breaking regulations: documents

Cloudworks says information in reports released to media is incorrect

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Two run of river projects in the Sea to Sky region are breaking environmental regulations, according to documents obtained by the CBC.

The documents include an "Independent Power Producer Inspection Project Report" for projects at Stokke and Tipella Creek, both of them located along Harrison Lake in In-SHUCK-ch Nation territory.

The Vancouver-based Cloudworks Energy Inc. is developing the projects as part of Harrison Hydro LP, a group of projects located in both the Lower Lillooet and Upper Harrison areas. Cloudworks is building a 22 MW project at Stokke Creek and an 18 MW project at Tipella Creek.

In the report, monitors express concerns about sewage treatment at camps housing construction workers. On page three of the inspection report a monitor notes that a sewage system at the Tipella camp is only designed for 200 workers, but that there are 250 workers living at the camp itself.

The report goes on to state that an incinerator had been used without a permit and that a building permit is required for camps with more than 100 workers. The report also notes that construction occurred during breeding bird season at both the Stokke and Tipella camps.

Jackie Hamilton, Cloudworks Energy's VP, environmental and regulatory, later objected to the monitor's conclusions in an Oct. 22, 2008 e-mail that was also reported in CBC's story. She said in the e-mail that she "objects" to this approach, "which seems very uncoordinated and time-consuming with a still-uncertain purpose."

"Some people on the inspection team (last time they came out two weeks ago) were making comments on how to conduct our environmental monitoring that are uninformed and clearly not familiar with construction requirements," she wrote.

In an interview with Pique , Hamilton said the inspection team, dubbed an "IPP strike team" in a Ministry of Environment (MOE) memo, didn't have a strong enough connection to the projects' actual regulatory requirements.

"We have many, many routine inspections and routine inspectors and it was a surprise to us that there was a new strike team that sounded like commandos coming down to root out the enemy," she said. "It just seemed like it was hastily conceived."

Some of the "uninformed" comments that Hamilton referred to in her e-mail included a statement that "harlequin duck surveys" hadn't been conducted prior to the start of construction, contrary to the requirements of a Construction Environmental Management Plan.

"They were conducted prior to construction as part of the EAO process, which I guess the inspector didn't know," Hamilton said. "There were no further harlequin duck surveys required so it wasn't contrary to the environmental management plan."

She went on to say that Cloudworks welcomes environmental inspections because it "keeps us on our toes," but when such reports get released to the media there's often a misunderstanding as to what's required of the projects.

"If someone's making a statement that we're out of compliance and really we aren't, it was corrected in our response (to the MOE), what the media received was not our response correcting the information," she said.

As for the projects themselves, Hamilton said that Tipella Creek is expected to start operating in the next three months and that it's just about finished construction. Stokke Creek, meanwhile, is about five or six months away. The full construction period for that project is approximately two years, according to Hamilton.

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