Liberals break their word, set to revive Klinaklini power project
CAMPBELL RIVER – After stating clearly that the boundaries of the Great Bear Rainforest would not be changed to allow a massive independent power project to move ahead, the B.C. Liberals have broken their word and passed legislation that does just that, say New Democrats.
“Two years ago we were delighted when the environment minister effectively killed this project by refusing to change the conservancy boundaries,” said North Island MLA Claire Trevena. “So it was extremely disappointing to see the new Liberal environment minister reverse that decision.”
In May 2010, then-minister Barry Penner stated clearly in the legislature that the legislative changes to the boundaries of the Upper Klinaklini conservancy would not be moved to facilitate the project, which threatens to devastate a huge swath of wilderness on B.C.’s mid-coast.
The Klinaklini Hydroelectric Project proposed for Knight Inlet would generate as much as 800 MW of power at peak flow conditions, and require a 30-metre-high dam and a 10-metre-diameter tunnel to divert the river down a 17 kilometre pipe. It would affect as much as 57 hectares of riparian habitat, two-thirds of which is old growth forest, and flood a 5.5 square kilometer section of the forest.
“The environmental devastation from this project is unthinkable,” said New Democrat deputy environment critic Michael Sather. “Five species of wild salmon make the Klinaklini their home. This project would affect them, plus red and blue-listed species and a grizzly bear and moose corridor.”
Sather and Trevena noted that the legislation that moves the boundaries was rammed through the B.C. legislature on the final two days of the spring session, allowing only 30 minutes for debate.
“The Liberals have broken the public trust on this and many other matters. The Liberals said they weren’t going to encroach on the conservancy, and now they’ve done exactly that,” said Trevena. “And without thorough debate, they embedded it in legislation that also made a number of other changes to B.C. parks.”
Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are standing up for a strong and sustainable future for our province and will continue to urge the government to take meaningful action on the environment and public health.