BC’s private run-of-river power projects a ‘horror show’, documents reveal
Read this Jan. 29 Province story on the appalling government mismanagement of private river power projects in BC, only a quarter of which are operating at a satisfactory environmental standard.
The majority of run-of-the-river power projects in B.C.’s South Coast region are not being operated in a satisfactory environmental manner, according to Freedom of Information documents provided to The Province.
“We were told these things were going to be green, we were told they were going to be the next-best thing since sliced bread,” said Marvin Rosenau, who worked as a freshwater biologist in the Ministry of Environment in the 1990s and 2000s and now is a fisheries instructor at BCIT.
“And the reality is that it’s a bit of a mess right now. Some of them are just absolutely horror shows.”
For years, environmentalists have been raising alarms about these hydroelectric power projects, which divert river water flows through turbines to generate power.
The main fear is the impact they have on fish, both upstream and downstream.
Details of the ongoing problems are highlighted by internal government documents recently obtained by the Wilderness Committee through a Freedom of Information request and reviewed by The Province.
The documents come from a July 2012 government workshop held at the Environmental Assessment Office in Victoria. The workshop was aimed at tidying up an industry that has had highly publicized issues with non-compliance.
According to the workshop documents, at that time only four of 22 run-of-river projects in the South Coast region had satisfactory operational parameters and procedures in place.