Cawston, Area ‘B’ Report
Area “B” Director George Bush, along with other Directors and Mayors of the Similkameen met with Doyle Sam, who is Executive Vice President, of Network Services, Engineering & Generation, for FortisBC.
Also in attendance was Roger Mayer from Keremeos, who is assisting FortisBC with their project. The meeting was about the proposed dam site upriver from Princeton. Doyle said that this would be a 400 million dollar project that was about water management, with a 50 to 65 megawatt power potential. They would be looking at working towards the year of 2019 for an in service date.
There were questions about the “Disposition of Crown Land” advertised in the paper and the lack of information that went with it. The advertisement was put in by the Province of B.C. and Doyle said he would look into why there was such little information put forward.
The disposition of Crown Land is for an “investigative permit” for the next five years. If all the hurdles were overcome, then it would become a long term lease of Crown Land.
There was a question about the Environment Assessment (EA) and would there be a federal and a provincial assessment? Doyle thought that it would just be provincial because the project is not big enough for the requirements of a federal EA. All the details and public involvement will be coming forward in the next two years and the land disposition is just so they can start the process.
We asked about the water license and were told that a license application was purchased from PLP, (Princeton Light and Power). This purchase allows them to be earlier in the line up for a water license which wouldn’t happen till after all the EA work was done and things were moving forward.
The flooded area for the reservoir is approximately 95 per cent Crown Land and five per cent private land. There would be no loss of homes but there are mining claims that would have to be dealt with. There are also complications with Copper Mountain Mine that also have to be dealt with before the actual dam site is to be determined. Fortis BC will also be talking with Upper and Lower Similkameen Indian Bands as well.
This is just my take on the meeting and I am sure that if I got any of the information wrong I will soon be corrected. The dam area is relatively small and would be filled up in one year with water on a normal runoff year. I will reserve my judgment regarding the dam until all the environment assessment and public involvement and negotiations have been done.
RDOS Director, Area “B”, Cawston