A Vancouver-based company is looking at the potential development of a hydroelectric power plant on Goat Island in the middle of Powell Lake.
Powell River Regional District (PRRD) is concerned about a recent referral from the provincial government for a five-year Crown land lease application. The company has applied to perform an investigation into whether a waterpower operation on the island is feasible.
The proposed 4,654-hectare project will harness water flowing from Frogpond Lake to Clover Lake. If the project goes ahead, it is anticipated to have a maximum output of 2,000 megawatts and include two dams, two reservoirs, a powerhouse and intake, penstocks and transmission lines to connect it to the BC Hydro grid.
“[The investigative phase] is going to go forward, I’m sure,” said electoral PRRD area A director Patrick Brabazon. “The regional district’s concern is primarily with the power lines.”
The transmission lines are planned to reach across Powell Lake and down the east side of Haslam Lake, running through Powell River’s community watershed and community forest.
The lines would run across Washout Creek, Sweetwater Creek, Blackwater Creek and Suicide Creek before crossing Lois Lake and the Jefferd Creek watershed down near Scotch Fir Point, where it will link up with the BC Hydro lines on Nelson Island. Power lines have had a negative impact on forestry in the region, according to Brabazon.
“We will continue to be concerned about the power lines over and above the power-generation sites,” he said. “Until we are satisfied that the power lines will have a benign effect on our local industry, we are going to be severely critical.”
According to a PRRD staff report, in addition to examining the project’s footprint, the company will also look at its impact on water quality, wildlife, fish, forests, recreation, slope/geotechnical stability and any other impacts that could adversely affect the Haslam Lake watershed.
The company, 1026488 BC Ltd, is registered to Glen Ichikawa and Ali Taleb. Ichikawa is president of Vancouver-based Kawa Engineering Ltd., while Taleb serves as the company’s general manager. According to their website, Kawa specializes in designing and building hydro-electric projects and is currently engaged with Montrose Creek and Jimmie Creek run-of-the-river hydroelectric projects, located approximately 100 kilometres north of Powell River.
PRRD’s planning committee recommended to the board that it did not have any objections to the project’s investigative stage. On November 26, the PRRD board’s rural directors Alan Rebane, Colin Palmer, Sandy McCormick and Brabazon were asked to vote on the motion, which passed unanimously, despite McCormick’s initial opposition to it at the planning committee and Brabazon’s concerns about the transmission lines.
PRRD will be given the opportunity to make further recommendations to the provincial government once the project moves past its investigative phase.
The province is asking for public comments on the company’s application. To make a comment, go to bit.ly/1P3IaXB.