FVRD not supportive of run of river project for Tamihi Creek

Board questions necessity of proposed power project, following decision to build Site C dam

Orion Engar

Orion Engar

The Fraser Valley Regional District is not supporting a planned run of river project at Tamihi Creek.

The board has notified the province of its non-support through a letter to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The FVRD board wrote that its decision was based on “strong community input.”

The board is also seeking clarification from the ministry “as to how it can justify the trade‐offs for hydroelectricity in such environmentally sensitive and recreationally rich areas for more costly hydro that does not appear to be needed with the decision to build Site C.”

The Tamihi Creek power project is being proposed by WindRiver Power Corporation, and an open house was held at Tzeachten Community Centre in early October. It was the first public, detailed look at the proposal.

The $50 million plant would generate 15 megawatts of electricity that would then be sold to BC Hydro. The plan has been in the works for more than seven years, and still requires provincial approval.

The plan calls for construction of a dam near the headwaters of the creek that would divert a portion of the water flow to a pipeline that would run adjacent down stream. The water would drive a hydro electric turbine at the base of the pipeline before being returned to the creek. Transmission lines would then carry the electricity to BC Hydro lines in the Chilliwack River Valley.

If the government decides to push ahead and allow the Tamihi Creek project, the FVRD board have asked for clearer information on any potential community mitigation.

Orion Engar, FVRD area director for the Chilliwack River Valley, has been gathering information on the project. He’s now speaking out against it.

“In B.C.’s rush to be an exporter of electricity, we are increasingly degrading many of our super natural wild places,” he said. “In the views of everyone I have spoken with here, the environmental sensitivity and rich recreation values of the Chilliwack River Valley, located so close to our largest population centers, far outweigh any benefits of this power project.”

-with files from Greg Knill