Anglers say no to Enbridge run-of-river plans

Plan for two hydro projects on steelhead-bearing rivers red flagged by Terrace members of Steelhead Society of BC

Enbridge shouldn’t be allowed to continue studying the possibility of building two run-of-river power projects on local water courses, says the northern branch of the Steelhead Society of BC.

The Clore River, 12 kilometres southeast of Terrace, and Williams Creek, a major tributary of Lakelse Lake, are important fish-bearing water courses and are ideal kayaking locations, says the branch in a letter to energy minister Bill Bennett.

Enbridge, through numbered companies, received licences late last year to examine the idea of run-of-river projects on the river and creek. Two more proposals to examine locations in the Kitimat area, at McKay Creek and Bolton Creek, also received approval.

“We’re an energy company not just a pipeline company, so we’re always looking for opportunities that might prove to be good ones for our renewable portfolio,” said Enbridge public relations official Ivan Giesbrecht, of the company which wishes to build the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline that would see Alberta crude transported by pipeline across B.C. and exported through the port of Kitimat on tankers.

The 25 megawatt Williams Creek run-of-river project, as outlined in Enbridge’s project scope report submitted to the ministry, would connect to the BC Hydro grid by way of a new one-kilometre 69 kilovolt transmission line running west of the project.

The 120 megawatt Clore run-of-river project would use a 47 kilometre long 230 kilovolt transmission line to connect to the BC Hydro grid, reads the report. The location of that line is not yet known.

“Enbridge is very early in the process for this potential project, and has done little work on a specific proposal beyond obtaining the preliminary license,” said Giesbrecht, speaking to the Clore project. “No Enbridge employees have visited the site and no survey work has begun.”

Enbridge has been made aware of concerns around fish species in the Clore River, he confirmed.

“We would need to do a full consultation with local experts, aboriginal communities and those folks living around the river and full environmental assessments would need to be done before we could move forward,” he said.

It’s entirely possible none of the projects will go through, he said.

“We’re at that stage where we’re just looking to see if a) we want to proceed, and b) which ones would … pass any type of economic or environmental feasibility review,” said Giesbrecht.

But area angling activists want Enbridge to stop studying the projects now.

“We’re not going down any middle road, we’re not interested in any damage to our rivers,” said steelhead society chair Jim Culp. “[The Clore] is a summer run steelhead river. There’s not many of them left in the world.”