Trip of a Lifetime--Book Now Before Prices Go Down
For all you folks that've wanted to make a trip to fish British Columbia's incredible steelhead, trout and salmon, buy the ticket today. Not too many tomorrows from now your backcast may get tangled in the transmission lines and your fly may land on the rocks or on the pipe that's transporting the water that used to run over those bare rocks. This is BC in the midst of the provincial government's "green energy" plan.
Oogle No More
There are apparently over 600 BC rivers fingered for Run of River Hydroelectric projects. Having oogled maps of the BC coast since my childhood wondering what some of those remote rivers must be like for fishing, it saddens me to find out the hard way just how good they are. Heli-fishing guides are now exposing the secrets they've coveted for decades in the hopes of saving these rivers. George Bush senior is one of the clients shown in a fishing photograph in Bute Inlet. Something tells me wilderness values are extremely high if former US presidents are fishing there. Guides speak of sea run cutthroat averaging 18 inches and running to 24 inches. Trout fishing days of 20 fish landed are mentioned as average. They also speak of incredible bull trout and salmon fishing.
The projected cost of power sounds pretty scary. BC Hydro is currently in the midst of massively jacking up rates. BC Hydro produces power at $6 per megawatt hour and residential customers pay $70/MWh. Contracts signed with Independent Power Producers (IPP's) guarantee purchase agreements for $120/MWh. BC is also locked into exporting power at $60/MWh so we'll be losing money for every MWh we must export. As a result, citizens will pay for this. It's been suggested that over the long term BC Hydro itself may be bankrupted out of the agreements our government has been signing. Adding to these losses will be the losses of habitat. Fishers, hunters, hikers, whale watchers, grizzly bear aficionados, and many others may no longer be able to find the animals/habitats they came to see--and those industries may dry up also. Even if you were willing to ignore the transmission lines and power generating stations, I can't imagine that the fish populations will survive when the power project removes up to 90% of the river's flow for much of its fishable length.
Long Term Jobs
Oh ya, there are basically no long term jobs. The jobs will dry up once the project has been built. The power companies will have next to nobody manning the facilities which are nearly fully automated.
Debbie Downer assumes you probably don't want to hear more about this. If she's wrong, check out the link right here. It shows the public fighting for their resource and it shows some sweet fishing shots. Unfortunately, many of these public consultations are just window dressing. Just ask the citizens and municipal councillors of the Squamish Lillooet Regional District. They voted the Ashlu River proposal down by an 8 to 1 margin. The BC government soon passed Bill 30 to take away municipal governments' zoning rights over these proposals.
What you get by joining the fight
If you write to your elected officials about these projects and manage to have them come to their senses, maybe we can get the BC Energy Plan changed. And maybe you can take advantage of some of the beans these heli-guides had to spill. Write, email, donate, attend, etc. Please be active in saving one of the world's greatest river fishing provinces. You can email Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Housing at EMH.Minister@gov.bc.ca. You should copy your email to Ron.Ptolemy@gov.bc.ca. You can donate to Fly Fishing Fantasies on our website if you want to help us create video pieces to energize fishers about the incredible fishing opportunities BC has to offer and to energize them to speak up to save them. In addition to enjoying the incredible fishing BC has to offer, you will find out about some awe-inspiring new spots to cast a line. Hopefully some of these video pieces will get enough people writing in about the dollars they've spent or that they hope to spend in the future if the fishing is good enough. Maybe then the elected officials will see fit to change their energy plan.