“There really isn’t anything new,” Ruth Sulentich, Community and Aboriginal Relations Manager for Fortis Inc., said earlier this week regarding further progress on Fortis’ Simlkameen dam proposal.
Fortis received an investgative permit from the province recently, which allows them to further explore the possibility of constructing a 165 metre high dam on the Similkameen River approximately 15 kilometres west of Princeton.
The permit was issued after controversy last summer following a series of ads that ran in local papers mistakenly referring to the investigative permit as a “Disposition of Crown Land.”
Fortis’ investigative permit will allow Fortis to explore the projects’ economic and environmental impacts, and is valid for the next five years.
Sulentech said Fortis is now in the process of arranging for several open houses in Similkameen communities, in addition to scheduling meetings with local officials and the Joint Committee to discuss the project more fully. She said the investigative process is expected to take up to two and a half years, and expects the public information sessions to begin in late spring or early summer.
Several Similkameen politicians have expressed the need for more information on the project. Similkameen Valley Planning Society Chair Manfred Bauer said the society recently wrote Fortis Project Manager Doyle Sam, inviting him to the next SVPS meeting on March 26 to update members on the proposal.