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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
From Kaslo, BC
The Glacier Creek Story
Here is a letter published in the Watershed Sentinel (in Comox, BC), from a reader in Kaslo, reporting on Glacier Creek near there.
My friend recently gave me a copy of the October ’06 issue of Common Ground magazine. You can get your copy at 1-800-365-8897. This issue is vital to those of us who care what is going on with hundreds of run-of-the-river projects being proposed all over BC (at a fast pace with a gold rush mentality.) I admit it was an eye opener for me; the implications more far reaching than I had realised. The cover is entitled “Our Stolen Rivers” …Get the big picture…The Enronizing of BC Hydro.. Inside this issue is a middle pullout section which explains Bill 30 (which essentially eliminates local involvement) and gives both sides of the story from the Corporate Sales Pitch to just how exactly BC Hydro is being endangered. The last page of insert claims there is still some hope and gives us a list of what to do. Write letters and talk about www.hydrofactsbc.ca .
The easy money game plays out something like this: Developers, putting up virtually no capital except what’s necessary to pay for the license and a few other expenses, obtain a water license and begin energy purchase agreements form BC Hydro. When they win a bid, they have in hand a 15 to 450 year contract to sell energy to BC Hydro. Then they are off to the bank for a loan and present the banker with a long term guaranteed cash flow. Because BC Hydro is effectively backing this loan with the purchase agreement, the interest rate is very low. When the loan is paid down, the company owns the asset. The public, which has financed the arrangement, gets no assets, no protection for future price increases, and no guarantee that the energy will not be exported. With hundreds of such projects all over BC, there is no way to determine the cumulative impacts.
Water licenses give rivers away to private companies. What is happening is a stealing of our commons. We are being given reassuring language to keep us asleep. BC Hydro, one of our most valuable and profitable public assets is apparently being deregulated and dismantled for private profit as was BC Rail, BC Gas, etc. According to Murray Dobbin in the Georgia Straight, there are some 496 run-of-the-river projects being proposed. He claims that the entire North American electricity industry is being restructured to serve the US market. The blatant giveaway of BC’s water resources should set off alarm bells everywhere.
The theft of the commons is occurring quietly and without public knowledge. If we don’t know we won something, or we do not care, it is easy for some slick corporation to steal. Especially if certain provincial and federal government toadies are in on the deal and not telling voters. Is the reason they are not holding a fall session of BC legislature a fear that they may be discovered? The Common Ground insert and articles explain much. One can note the patterns. I believe that future generations are counting on us to get corporations out of our wild waters. The battle for the Ashlu drainage is ongoing near Squamish. Closer to home (Kaslo) we stand to lose Glacier Creek. People get upset about Jumbo Mountain Development at the top of Glacier Creek. Do they think a dam and a tunnel carrying water 6km. though a mountain to the Duncan reservoir will be any less devastating?
Glacier Power BC has now become Canada Glacier Power. A change of name, a change of proposals, I believe nothing they say…I have Glacier Creek running through my property. Initially we were offered a well, free electricity and perhaps a buy-out to compensate for the possible loss of 80% of the water. As far as I’m concerned if we lose much water in winter the whole creek is likely to freeze as the creek has spread out and freezes from both top and bottom, The valley beyond my homestead is precipitous and logged from top to bottom. It is prone to avalanches and great walls of ice have come down before, taking out anything in its path. A dam 3 km above my place leaves much to be desired, Now that they have no need to run their initially proposed 8 ft. pipe down the middle of the road but rather are proposing a 6 km. tunnel through the mountain instead, we are being offered zero compensation for the loss of the creek (which was why we bough the place.) I have lived here 13 years and this creek has immeasurable spiritual and healing powers. To tunnel vibrant live waters through a tunnel and turbine is sacrilege. Glacier Creek is unique!
Let’s face it folks, a tunnel and a turbine are not run-of-the-river projects. The only green thing about this plan is the money they hope to generate. I quote a letter from Neil Murphy, the chief proponent of Glacier Power BC.
“I do not know at this point what the exact BC Hydro price for power will be. The past PPA price has averaged out at 54 dollars a mega watt hour. The plant at Glacier Creek should be able to produce
80,000+ mw hrs annually at 11% mean profit which would be up to 475 thousand dollars a year profit.
If it is higher that would be great from any viewpoint. The annual fees and provincial/federal tax rate is 37% so I and my son would make a comfortable living. When you have the debt retired (25 years) then you have the license to print money. The profits are substantial from this point onward to the end of the lifespan of the power plant (70 to 100 years).”
Where are Friends of Glacier Creek? We need your input now!
These invaders plan to move in, take our water and give us only grief. Where are their ethics? How environmentally benign is taking away 80% of the water? There are FISH!
written by: Gabriella Grabowsky, Rainbow’s End Ranch, Glacier Creek FS Road, Kalso BC,
PUBLISHED WITH THE PERMISSION OF: Delores Broten, Editor Watershed Sentinel PO Box 1270, Comox BC V9M 7Z8 Ph: 250-339-6117 www.watershedsentinel.ca
Posted by Coyote at 3:14 p.m.