Princeton rural Director Brad Hope continued to express his concerns about the Fortis dam proposal upriver of Princeton at the Thursday, July 3 board of directors meeting for the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen.
Oliver rural Director Allan Patton requested support for a motion to have the committee come up with a position on the dam.
Both Patton and Hope suggested now was the time for the Environment and Infrastructure Committee to take a stand on the proposal. Other directors indicated a willingness to wait until more facts were known.
Hope’s concerns stem from reports Fortis is negotiating for a deal to sell downstream water rights to American interests in order to make the dam financially viable.
“What are the benefits to Canadian interests?” he asked, noting that as far as flood control, a dam that far upstream on the Similkameen would have limited benefit, as it was located upstream of the Similkameen’s major tributary, the Tulameen.
“They are talking about turning 20 kilometres of the river into a narrow lake, and selling off downstream uses before settling upstream responsibilities. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.
“We need to see a lot more on the table as to what’s going to happen in Canada first.”
Hope was also concerned about the province’s lack of participation in the debate at this point in time, noting that negotiations appeared to be private, with no input from the province.
That sentiment was also articulated in a recent article in the July 2 edition of the Commonsense Canadian’s online edition in an article titled, “Fortis, U.S. mull massive Similkameen dam; Where is B.C. government?”
Author Ken Farquharson suggested the B.C. government was “sitting on the sidelines” and “derelect in duty” in not involving itself in the proposal at this point.