Cheslatta not happy with river fix plans

The Cheslatta spokesperson is asking how extreme water flows of the Nechako River will ever be corrected?

Sudden changes to the Nechako River enhancement fund including a five-month timeline to designate spending for the fund’s millions is not sitting well with the Cheslatta Carrier nation.

“The timing is so aggressive … saying everything has to be done by June, when this has been on the books for over a decade is not right,” Mike Robertson said.

The Cheslatta spokesperson is asking how extreme water flows of the Nechako River will ever be corrected since the B.C. government and Rio Tinto Alcan no longer support a cold water spillway at Kenny Dam.

Robertson expressed disappointment in Nechako Environmental Enhancement Fund’s (NEEF) new focus of finding alternative river enchancement projects before June.

“We haven’t given up on a water release facility – that has been our goal for a long time,” the Cheslatta rep emphasized, “the committee recommended it in 2001.”

Still Robertson said they will attend the enhancement panel’s meetings, despite the new agenda.

“We will continue to meet with (fund managers) and hear what they have to say,” he said.

The new NEEF fund panel who represent the province, the federal fisheries ministry and Rio Tinto Alcan state that the possible price tag of over $250 million and concerns about benefits of cold water release is what led to seeking other forms of river fixes.

“We now have the benefit of a large amount of information learned since 1997,” the new committee wrote in a recent information bulletin, “It is our responsibility to balance the costs and benefits of options and ultimately be accountable for the decisions made and how the fund is used.”

Robertson says fixing the local waterways is a priority for the band, but adds there won’t be much point to new projects if they can’t stop deluges that ruin local salmon and sturgeon beds.

“The Kenny Dam changed things for 60 years and damage continued each and every year,” Robertson said, “I can understand the government’s in a tough financial situation but we’re talking about benefits for generation’s to come.”

All parties agree that the damage in local rivers continues because federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans legislation forces huge water flows downstream to spawning sockeye salmon that are hundreds of miles away.

But favouring that salmon run continues to damage local food fish and  rare white sturgeon beds.

“It’s killing us,” Robertson emphasized.

He said the Cheslatta band will seek alternate ways to build a water release facility. Robertson speculates that the region could find funding partners in industry or other governments once benefits including the potential for power generation have been made clearer.

“There’s (industry) being proposed near Vanderhoof and they will need hydro for their operations that can be produced by a water release (plant),” Robertson said.

Rallying behind the orphaned river project puts the Cheslatta in the same corner as former NEEF managers and residents who expressed shock at the five month timeline for deciding how to spend a possible $100 million worth of funding earmarked for Nechako and Cheslatta restoration.

When Robertson led a delegation of the Cheslatta band to a District of Vanderhoof council to register unhappiness with the fund’s new path, the mayor commented that those who seek a good outcome need to combine their efforts.

 

“We are much stronger if we work together,” Gerry Thiessen said.

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

UPDATED: The Dog Creek wildfire has grown substantially over the past two… Continue reading

Locals converge for Cannabis Community Consultation meeting

Public feedback taken into account as DOV moves forward

Holi Festival of Colours celebrated in Vanderhoof

Last weekend, around 20 Vanderhoof residents took part in Holi, a Hindu… Continue reading

College of New Caledonia announces early childhood educator training

Vanderhoof students may benefit from the program expansion

Vulnerable B.C. communities receive funds for structural flood mitigation

Communities throughout British Columbia that have been partial to flood risks in… Continue reading

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

ZONE 8: Williams Lake’s Gabby Knox is a 2nd-generation BC Games competitor

Both parents competed in softball, but Knox is making waves in the pool

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Most Read