Letter: Wind power projects are planned for B.C. Interior
To the editor:
We need to ask questions and be aware.
Nicolas Heap, regional director, Canadian Wind Energy, has stated: “Wind energy delivers on all fronts.” With that said some questions and discussions need to take place.
This statement is one of few if any from the government or proponents that wind projects were going to take place in our area [Okanagan Valley], and that BC Hydro was going to buy power from them for the next 20 years.
Within our area there are three projects that are planned. This information did not come from the wind energy folks but was passed on from concerned taxpayers who were told that full consultation had been done by the proponents.
To this day, none of the major recreation and conservation groups have been notified of any consultation. BC Wildlife Federation, BC Federation of Driftfishers and all of the outdoor clubs in the Thompson Okanagan have not heard of these so-called consultation meetings with the stakeholders—you and I, the stakeholder/taxpayers.
The three projects that we have heard of are in the Merritt area, one west of Summerland and one near Pennask Creek and lake.
There are major environmental concerns with regards to the one near Pennask Lake. At this time the government is trying to contain leaching from the construction of the Coquihalla Connector into Pennask Creek. To quote John Cartwright, who was section head for provincial fisheries for over 25 years: “…every effort should be made to keep any further damage or potential damage away from the drainage of Pennask Lake and creek.” Brian Chan fisheries biologist indicates that over 20,000 wild rainbow trout return each season to the spawning beds in Pennask Creek.
So the first question to the proponents is: Where is the science and why has there been no public consultation?
Mr. Heap states that wind power will be cost-effective and cheap for the 20 year contract with BC Hydro.
Ontario has gone the way of wind energy and it has been reported that Ontario has the highest power rates in North America. Also, Ontario has a higher debt than California and Michigan. Wind sites are put in without public consultation and many residents in Ontario have been outraged by these sites.
The [Ontario] election is now on and one party has stated that it will remove the $20 billion subsidy to the solar and wind energy companies in Ontario.
So, the second question is: Are the wind energy companies going to get any subsidies from us the B.C. taxpayer?
And the third is: Has the B.C. government mandated that BC Hydro purchase the power from the wind energy companies like Premier Campbell did with the run-of-river projects that have cost us millions of dollars?
Let’s start asking questions folks, because once they are built, there is no turning back.
I have no problem with clean energy but not at any cost to the environment and/or taxpayer.
Maybe our MLAs could answer some of these questions via providing the information to the news outlets so that we all can see his answers.
director, B.C. Federation of Driftfishers,
member, Sport Fishing Advisory Board, Department of Fisheries and Oceans,