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Homathko RiverThe Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has announced that Plutonic’s Bute Inlet power project will be subject to a Full Panel Review (see press release).

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Photo: Head of Bute Inlet. Homathko River in the foreground with the Southgate in the midfield and the Orford drainage in the upper right background. Photo courtesy of Damien Gillis.

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The Sunshine Coast's water supply infrastructure is showing signs of distress; our water treatment plant is operating at full capacity year round, and water use conflicts are emerging during the low-flow times of the year. As well, our population is growing.

(The SCRD published a public notice asking residents to reduce their consumption following a new water use record on June 4, 2009.)

In 2007, the SCCA began to consider the potential of rain harvesting to alleviate demand during low flow periods in Chapman Creek. We received a grant from the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation to study rain harvesting feasibility in our community, and have published a Final Report with recommendations for regional government.


Rain harvesting storage tanks on Hornby Island, January 2009. These tanks store 6,000 gallons of rain water harvested from a 1600 square foot roof. The system provides a home with water for all indoor and outdoor non-potable uses year round. King Anderson photo.

The Tzoonie River is located at the head of Narrows Inlet about 20 miles from Porpoise Bay in Sechelt. It is one largest and most productive river systems in the Sunshine Coast Forest District.

The Stl’ixwim Hydro Corporation is proposing to construct a 62 megawatt private hydropower project within the Tzoonie River watershed. This project involves 3 lake storage dams, 6 generating stations and 19 points of diversion and is large enough to trigger a provincial environmental assessment process.

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A major hydroelectric power project has been proposed for the Hamathko, Southgate and Orford rivers at the head of Bute Inlet in the northern and most remote area of the Sunshine Coast Forest District.  This project involves 17 “run-of-the-river” generating stations, about 100 bridges and hundreds of kilometers of roads and transmission lines, all within areas of spectacular fish, wildlife and scenic values. (read the proponent’s project description at the BC EAO Project Information Centre).

For more details go to the SCCA's Bute Inlet page .

Homathko River

Above: Head of Bute Inlet. Homathko River in the foreground with the Southgate in the midfield and the Orford drainage in the upper right background. Photo courtesy of Damien Gillis.

The SCCA is becoming increasingly alarmed over the growing wave of proposed private power generating projects in our region. These most recent proposals are major industrial projects, not little "run of the river" installations. The Stl'ixwin proposal, for example, involves damming numerous lakes for storage, and diverting water flows at about 20 locations.  A major transmission line corridor is also proposed.

The Stl'ixwin Renewable Energy Initiative is holding an Open House at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt, on Wednesday, December 10th, starting at 5:00 p.m.  This open house will give information on a project involving six sites in the watershed of the Tzoonie River, which empties into Narrows Inlet.
We are currently in the "terms of reference" phase of a provincial Environment Assessment of this project. Government is accepting public input until January 23rd regarding the scope of issues to be considered during the EA process.

For more information on IPPs, visit the Citizens for Public Power .