Vancouver-based Ledcor Power Inc. has applied to Land and Water B.C., formerly B.C. Assests and Lands, to operate a small hydroelectric generation facility on Fitzsimmons Creek.
According to the application, the facility would divert 116.5 cubic feet per second from the flow of the river.
Whistler-Blackcomb currently owns the water rights in the area, plus land tenure where any station would be built. They have to approve of the project from an environmental, business and aesthetic standpoint before it can be approved.
Small hydro operations dont dam water, but they do divert some of the rivers flow in steeper areas through turbines, essentially letting gravity do the work.
B.C. Hydro recognizes small hydro as "green power," providing it doesnt affect the environment downstream. If the water is channelled back into the stream high enough up the river, it is believed that the impact on fish values is negligible.
Kayakers have been the most vocal opponents of these projects, partly because the long-term effects these projects may have on the biology of a stream are unknown, but mainly because it means lower water levels in whitewater areas.